Being involved in a hit and run accident can be a very serious matter, and one that can result in criminal charges. If you have been involved in such an accident, you may be wondering how long after the incident you can be charged with a crime. The answer to this question can vary depending on a number of different factors.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. In most cases, this will be classified as a misdemeanor offense. However, if the accident resulted in serious injury or death, it may be classified as a felony offense. In either case, the statute of limitations for hit and run offenses in California is generally three years.
This means that prosecutors have three years from the date of the incident to file charges against you. However, it is important to note that the clock does not start ticking until the offense is discovered or should have been discovered through reasonable diligence. This means that if the victim of the hit and run did not report the incident to the police until months or even years later, the statute of limitations may still be in effect.
Additionally, it is important to understand that there are other factors that can impact the timeline for charging someone with a hit and run offense. For example, if the police are unable to identify the driver who fled the scene, it may take longer for charges to be filed. On the other hand, if the driver is identified and apprehended quickly, charges may be filed much more quickly.
If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, it is important to take the situation seriously. Not only can this result in criminal charges, but it can also lead to civil liability if someone was injured or property was damaged as a result of the incident. To protect yourself, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
In conclusion, hit and run accidents can have serious legal consequences, and it is important to understand the timeline for charging someone with this offense. The statute of limitations for hit and run offenses in California is generally three years, but this can be impacted by a number of different factors. If you have been charged with a hit and run offense or are concerned about potential charges, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options. SoCal Criminal Law can provide experienced legal counsel for those who have been charged with a hit and run offense.