Drivers in California must keep control of their vehicles at all times, including when their vehicles are parked. Allowing a parked vehicle to roll away could even lead to criminal charges under California Vehicle Code Section 20002(b): Runaway Vehicle Causing Property Damage.
The Simmrin Law Group can help you find out more about VC 20002(b). Increase your understanding of this charge by considering:
- The Exact Legal Definition of a Runaway Vehicle
- Examples of VC 20002(b) Violations
- Penalties for a VC 20002(b) Conviction
- Charges Similar to VC 20002(b)
- Legal Defenses Used for VC 20002(b) Accusations
Charges for a Runaway Vehicle Causing Property Damage in California
Under VC 20002(b), individuals can face criminal charges if they:
- Park Their Vehicle
- The Vehicle Subsequently Becomes a Runaway Vehicle AND
- The Runaway Vehicles Is in an Accident Causing Property Damage
Drivers are required to offer up contact information after causing property damage with a runaway vehicle. Contact information can be provided:
- Directly to the Owner of the Property
- To the Property Owner through a Written Note
Note that VC 20002(b) also requires the driver to report the property damage to lawful authorities. This notification must be accomplished quickly.
Examples of a Runaway Vehicle Causing Property Damage
You can focus on understanding VC 20002(b) charges by going over these examples right now:
Man A parks his car and goes into a restaurant to eat lunch. He forgets to set the brake and – while he is eating – the car rolls across the parking lot and hits two other cars. Man A finishes his meal and discovers what happened. No one else is around, so he jumps in his car and leaves without telling anyone. He could be charged under VC 20002(b).
Man B goes to a business meeting in an unfamiliar neighborhood. He parks on a hill, but forgets to set his parking brake. His car drifts backwards during the meeting, coming to rest against a dumpster. He checks the dumpster when he comes out and doesn’t see any sign of damage, so he drives away. He could avoid a VC 20002(b), since the runaway vehicle didn’t cause any damage.
Penalties for VC 20002(b) Convictions in Los Angeles
Runaway vehicle causing property damage charges are treated as misdemeanors in the California court system. A conviction for a VC 20002(b) violation can result in the following penalties:
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Jail Time of Up to Six Months
Charges Similar to VC 20002(b) Violations in California
Drivers in California can face other criminal charges if they are involved in a wreck while driving their vehicle and they leave the scene without providing their contact information. Depending upon the situation, a driver could be charged under:
- California Vehicle Code Section 20001: Felony Hit and Run
- California Vehicle Code Section 20002: Misdemeanor Hit and Run
Drivers can also face penalties any time they operate a vehicle in a way that violates California’s legal codes. Even if a driver stops to offer their contact information, they could still face charges like reckless driving if they were not operating their vehicle in a safe manner. A traffic violation lawyer in Los Angeles can go over the legal codes used to prosecute traffic offenses in California.
Legal Defenses for Runaway Vehicle Causing Property Damage Accusations
You may have legal options if you are accused of allowing your runaway vehicle to cause property damage in California. You can reach out to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer for help handling these accusations. A professional lawyer can review all aspects of your case and they may be able to argue that:
Your Vehicle Didn’t Cause Any Property Damage
VC 20002(b) charges should only be used if your runaway vehicle caused damage to attended or unattended property. If no damage occurred, you shouldn’t face a criminal charged under VC 20002(b), even if your vehicle did get away from you.
You Properly Left Your Contact Information
You are legally required to leave behind your contact information if your runaway vehicle causes property damage. If you left behind written information because the property owner was not around, you could avoid a VC 20002(b) charge in the state of California.
Get Help Handling VC 20002(b) Charges with a Criminal Defense Lawyer
You can focus on defending yourself from California Vehicle Code Section 20002(b): Runaway Vehicle Causing Property Damage charges today. Contact the Simmrin Law Group now to get professional legal advice. Our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can answer your questions with a FREE initial case evaluation.
Call us at (310) 997-4688 or fill out our online contact form to get started.