High Court Rules Hit and Run Driver Owes No Restitution

Often in hit and run cases a Court will order Restitution of the damages caused in the accident as part of probation. Recently a Court of Appeals held the driver in a hit and run case is not automatically responsible for Restitution of the injury.

The Court observed: Where a defendant is convicted and sentenced to state prison, he must pay restitution directly to the victim for losses incurred “as a result of the commission of the offense” (Pen. Code, § 1202.4, subd. (a)(1)) in an amount sufficient to fully reimburse the victim for all economic losses (Pen. Code, § 1202.4, subd. (f)(3)). However, there must be a nexus between the victim’s losses and the defendant’s criminal conduct. Vehicle Code section 20001, subdivision (a) requires the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself, to stop at the scene, provide identification, render aid to the victim, and report the accident. Although an accident is a necessary predicate to the imposition of a duty to stop, a conviction under section 20001 does not require a showing that the fleeing driver was at fault for the accident. If restitution for accident-related injuries were allowed solely on proof a defendant fled the scene of an injury accident, that would mean that section 1202.4 allowed victim restitution even if the victim was solely responsible for the accident. This would serve no restitutionary purpose and could raise constitutional questions. “[T]he trial court was authorized to order restitution for those injuries that were caused or exacerbated by defendant’s criminal flight from the scene of the accident, but it was not authorized to award restitution for injuries resulting from the accident itself.” Thanks Ccap.
People vs. Martinez.

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV.
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