“If there is one characteristic that defines me, it is my belief in human dignity, my belief that my client's life is just as important now as it was on the day they were born.” - Michael Guisti

Tap to Call (888) 478-8999
Our Legal Team Is Standing By
Home blog DUI When a DUI and a Hit-and-Run Overlap

When a DUI and a Hit-and-Run Overlap

By Michael Guisti on June 25, 2021

Blurry van driving through crosswalkDUIs and hit-and-runs are two of the most common vehicular crimes on California roads. Both have different legal requirements in order for a prosecutor to convict a driver; both come with their own penalties, but when these cases overlap, you need a strong defense a skilled attorney. Being convicted of a combination of DUI and hit-and-run can lead to hefty penalties and years behind bars.

DUIs and Hit-and-Runs Defined

California does not have a specific charge for “DUI plus hit-and-run” and handles these cases as two separate charges. This can result in you receiving both penalties on top of each other, extending your time in jail and sometimes leading to even more punishments.

A standard DUI in California is defined under California Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC as the act of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While any level of intoxication is illegal, courts typically only convict defendants if they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher.

There are several enhancements a DUI defendant can face. California courts impose harsher restrictions when you already have a DUI on your record. A fourth or subsequent conviction changes the DUI from a misdemeanor to a felony. In addition, if you were involved in an accident and someone else was injured, you can face a DUI with injury charge, which is a wobbler – either misdemeanor or felony. In most cases, the prosecutor will demand a felony conviction, which comes with up to four years in state prison. If you drive commercially and are arrested for DUI, you can lose your CDL and potentially your job.

A DUI with injury has a higher chance of overlapping with a hit-and-run charge. In the state of California, any driver who is involved in a collision is legally required to pull over and exchange information with the other driver or pedestrian, according to Vehicle Code 20001 VC. If either driver leaves the scene without reporting it to the police, then they can be charged with a hit-and-run.

Hit-and-runs are either misdemeanors or felonies: misdemeanor hit-and-runs apply to cases where there was only property damage, while felony hit-and-runs involve injuries. Both can have a serious impact on your future, but your defense will depend on the nature of your actions and your intent.

The Dangerous Crossroads

You can be charged with both a DUI and a hit-and-run if you:

  • Operated a motor vehicle while intoxicated;
  • Were involved in a collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian; and
  • Left the scene without stopping to report the collision.

The penalties for these actions will depend on the accident. If the other driver was injured, then you are looking at both a felony DUI with injury and a felony hit-and-run. However, if there was only property damage, then both charges may be reduced to misdemeanors. Despite this, a judge may order you to serve a consecutive sentence, meaning you have to serve both sentences back-to-back, extending the amount of time you have to spend behind bars for just one incident.

Defending Your Future

Because these are two separate charges, you should only trust your case to a skilled Orange County traffic crimes defense attorney who has experience with both. At Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, we understand the stark future you are facing, but we firmly believe that every person deserves a strong defense. If you bring your case to us, we can sit down with you in a free consultation and explore how to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Call us today at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 to learn what Law Office of Michael L. Guisti can do for you.

Related Articles

Posted in: DUI

Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.

(714) 530-9690

Payment options available:

Payment options available:


Read Our Important Announcement About COVID-19

Dear valued clients, due to the COVID-19 virus and out of respect for the community, our office is offering our services remotely via phone and video. Please call or email us through our web contact form and we would be happy to discuss your case. Watch Michael L. Guisti's COVID-19 Public Service Announcement.

Schedule My Consultation