I know a passenger involved in a hit & run accident involving a parked vehicle (no one inside). I have texts from the passenger on my phone to record the facts below. Driver & passenger were intoxicated, passed out after the accident which resulted in mild to mod injuries to them but substantial to the other car. Someone aided them in fleeing the scene by driving their damaged vehicle to the driver's home. The passenger said the driver was going to report the accident but tell the police he had no passengers. I advised her to report the accident to the police herself. She said she would. I've recently become aware of information indicating that neither her nor the driver reported the accident to the police and it is possible that the one that helped them flee was in fact the father or mother of the passenger. This was in Long Beach or Wilmington, CA on 3-19-16 late at night or the very early morning of 3-20-16. What may happen to the passenger once I report her to the police if they in fact know nothing about the accident? Fines/penalties? Charges? Jail? Any implications to me acting on what I know or suspect?
Implication to you would be that you are putting yourself as a witness. For example, you may be ordered to appear in court to testify.
Good question. I think the answer is no. The passenger does not have any duty to leave information of the driver's identity for the owner of the parked car.
You should be ok unless you actively encouraged the driver to flee. The passenger has not duty to exchange information.
SAN DIEGO CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY--20 years experience
The passenger could be liable directly for the hit and run only if she or he was the owner of the car. The passenger could be liable under an aider and abettor theory if she or he did something to encourage or assist the driver in committing the crime. The passenger could be liable as an accessory after the fact if she or he assisted the driver in avoiding punishment after the crime was complete. Hit and run without injury is a misdemeanor that carries fines and up to a year in jail. Hit and run causing injury can be a misdemeanor or a felony, which means fines and probation, and jail or prison.
If you were an attorney, you should be concerned about malpractice. I don't know an attorney worth their salt that would advise anyone to speak to the police. It doesn't make sense. And then your solution is to report the passenger on hearsay evidence? Were you a witness to the accident? Or just pretending to be a friend to two people so you can screw them later on? You would be a terrible witness -- one that every attorney on this board would like to rip into for many reasons. I think that you have caused enough damage. You need to stay out and because you got some bad karma headed your way.
The response above is general information related to law and not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice based upon the query without additional details. It is highly recommended that one should seek advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting. Moreover, this response does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship since this message is not a confidential communication because it was posted on a public website, thereby publicly disclosing the information, which is another reason to setup a confidential meeting with an attorney.
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