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When Does The Statute of Limitations Begin on Felony Hit and Run?

San Diego, CA |

I was severally injured and hospitalized as a result of a Hit and Run accident . I was told recently by someone at the District Attorney's Office that the statute clock for felony hit and run does not start until the person of interest is in custody ; furthermore , I was told that from the time the individual is apprehended , is when the statue clock starts , and from that time , the DA Office would have 7 years to bring their case against the individual . I was told by the police department that it is 7 years from the date of the accident ; however , we questioned that because it was not until this year that the alleged driver that ran from the scene was finally identified .

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Attorney answers 6


Statute of limitations for criminal charges are different than statute of limitations for civil actions. Even though a hit and run, the statute of limitations for a motor vehicle accident commences to run, with rare exception (and unless the injured person is determined to be mentally incompetent or a minor) as of the date of accident; which application is not generally altered by the fact that the hit and rund driver was not indentified until later. You should consult with a personal injury attorney in your local to confirm that California law is consistent with the above. For any issues relating to a criminal charge, consult with an attorney practiciing criminal law .


I am so sorry to read of your injuries -- here's to a speedy and complciation-free recovery.

You ought to sit down with the prosecutor and ask for the authority he is citing in telling you the given time limit. Attorneys on a message board are quite leery when it comes to offering concrete information as to statutes of limitations because of the possible consequences related to the provision of misinformation.

Good luck to you!!


In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


A general rule of thumb in criminal cases is that the limitations period is equal to the maximum amount of time that the person could get if convicted of the crime.

I will be happy to speak with you at no cost with a FREE phone consultation if you have a San Diego or California matter. Please call my office at 619-238-1905 or visit my website at


Even though the criminal statute may be 7 years, the civil statute of limitations on filing a claim for damages or filing an uninsured motorist claim is only 2 years.

Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery. Any testimonials or endorsements should not be construed as a guarantee, warranty or prediction of the outcome of your case.


If I recall correctly, the civil statute against the hit and run driver may be extended if the person is convicted of a felony. Collecting may be another issue. And even though the statute against the hit and run driver may be extended, that does not extend the time to file an uninsured motorist claim.


Criminal 7, civil 2. Contact one of the local lawyers above to discuss.

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