Consequences of reporting a hit-and-run after the fact

Asked over 1 year ago - San Francisco, CA

My little sister, who is relatively young and a new driver, sideswiped a parked car last week, panicked, and drove away. I only learned that this happened yesterday. I'm trying to convince her that she needs to go to the police and report what happened, but she's terrified of the potential consequences. It happened in CA and I just researched some relevant law. Apparently what she did is a misdemeanor offense (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes.x...), but she might have an option of settling it in civil court (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_d...).

Could you give me an idea of what's likely to happen if she goes to the police at this point (nearly a week later) and confesses what happened? Thank you!

Attorney answers (4)

  1. James Michael Bergener

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    2

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . There are civil and criminal penalties for causing an automobile accident and then leaving the scene. Your sister would be liable for the property damage she caused as well as injuries to the driver if he or she was sitting in the car while it was parked. Furthermore, while you are likely correct that she would only be charged with a misdemeanor offense in this case, it's possible that if someone was in the car and they suffered bodily injury (or death), your sister could be charged with a felony. I would recommend retaining a lawyer to help her through this situation. It's in her best interest to not speak to anyone or sign any statements until she has consulted with an attorney.

    The information provided here is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on... more
  2. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . She should retain a local criminal lawyer who would help resolve this for her.

  3. Christopher Steven Hoffmann

    Contributor Level 14

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you are in an accident and leave the scene, this has both civil and criminal ramnifications. Lawyers cannot guarantee results in hit and run accident cases. Also, since you and I were not witnesses, it is difficult to state the extent of what occurred. We would be making assumptions about the facts of the auto accident and her case that may or may not be correct. Call a local attorney to discuss this with her and review the case in detail.

    24 Hour Attorney Call Center (314) 361-4242 or visit us on the Web at http://www.hoffmannpersonalinjury.com.
  4. Kevin Coluccio

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I would think talking with a lawyer prior to contacting the police would be the best approach.

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