Driving Under The Influence And Hit & Run In Orange County
Under California law, anyone who is involved in an accident is required to immediately stop at the scene, provide the other party involved with contact and insurance information, and to assist anyone who may have suffered injures. Failure to do any of these requirements can result in being charged with hit and run. More seriously, being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the hit and run, will result in multiple charges and potentially serious consequences.
DUI at the time of a hit and run usually involves several offenses and may result in one or more of the following charges:
- Driving under the influence
- Hit and run
- If there were injuries, bodily injury
- If someone was killed, vehicular homicide
- Reckless driving
Any prior convictions for driving under the influence will be taken into consideration by the District Attorney and will result in more serious consequences.
DUI with Hit & Run – Misdemeanor or Felony?
Are DUI’s with hit and run charged as misdemeanors or felonies? The answer is it depends. If there were no injures as a result of the hit and run, then it will be charged as a misdemeanor. However, if you have prior DUI’s, it may be filed as a felony and, if there were serious injuries or death as a result of the hit and run while DUI, this would be considered a felony as well.
A first offense of DUI Hit & Run with injuries can still result in a prison sentence and a maximum fine of up to $10,000.00. If it is the second, third or more offense, the penalties and punishments will be much harsher.
Can a Felony DUI Hit & Run be charged or tried as a Misdemeanor?
The answer is yes. It’s called a Wobbler. What this means is that, depending upon the specific circumstances of the offense, the District Attorney can agree to file the case as a misdemeanor, drop the case down to a misdemeanor or try the case as a misdemeanor. The result of this is that the penalties are not as severe. For instance, the penalty may be probation rather than doing time or, jail time rather than prison time. Whether or not the District Attorney can be persuaded to try the case as a misdemeanor will depend on how serious the injuries were, the degree of neglect or malice and any prior DUI convictions, if any.
Vehicular Manslaughter or Homicide as a result of DUI Hit & Run is of course a felony and is considered a violent crime. The consequences are quite severe in that an additional five-year state prison term can be added to any sentence, as well as any other penalties that are applicable.
Anyone who has been arrested for DUI Hit & Run, whether it be a felony or misdemeanor should immediately seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, and one that has extensive experience dealing with this type of crime.