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Thank you for your question.
Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.
Did anyone see you? Did you leave a note?
Did you write down the license plate?
i didn't know what to do because it was my first time.
i don't think anyone saw it, and i didn't leave a note or license plate info
is there anything i can do about?
At this point you really have to sit and wait. Generally speaking damaging property from a vehicle requires that you leave information behind on how to get in touch with you.
otherwise it is considered to be a 'hit and run'
Since you have no idea who this person is, and no way to trace this person at this time, should anyone seen you, that person will try to find you
i see. Should i contact the police to see if i can get a hold of that person's info?
i really didn't run on purpose
If you want you can contact the police now....but I must warn you that they may charge you with fleeing the scene even if it was not intentional
how long ago did this happen?
about 4 hours ago
how much would the fine be? if i do not contact them now and they find me, would i be charged more? also, what is the worst case that could happen to me?
let me look up the statute. hold on for just one moment
Here is the statute. Please review it. I will be here to answer questions pertaining to it if you have any questions:
20002. (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists. Moving the vehicle in accordance with this subdivision does not affect the question of fault. The driver shall also immediately do either of the following:
(1) Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and, upon locating the driver of any other vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property, upon being requested, present his or her driver's license, and vehicle registration, to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. The information presented shall include the current residence address of the driver and of the registered owner. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene, he or she shall also, upon request, present his or her driver's license information, if available, or other valid identification to the other involved parties.
(2) Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.
(b) Any person who parks a vehicle which, prior to the vehicle again being driven, becomes a runaway vehicle and is involved in an accident resulting in damage to any property, attended or unattended, shall comply with the requirements of this section relating to notification and reporting and shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to the penalties of this section for failure to comply with the requirements.
(c) Any person failing to comply with all the requirements of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
so in other words, the worst case that could happen to me is a $1000 fine and 6 months in prison?
right. which is why at this point reporting it is somewhat unwise.
i see. so who decides what my fine will be and if i need to go to prison or not?
is it the driver or the police?
Should it ever get to that point, which is highly unlikely, the driver would report it to the police
then the police would issue a citation
you would then have the ability and right to appear in front of a judge
and the judge would be the one to order a punishment or dismiss the citation
i see. so if the driver reports to the police and they find me, i can't repair the car and just forget the case? Would i still need to go to court?
Correct. But most of the time if the driver finds you, you can offer the ability to negotiate and cover repairs
and if the driver agrees, then the issue is resolved
i see. so if the driver is willing to negotiate, we wouldn't need to go to the court?
I am just concerned that because it wasn't reported right away, the police may cite oyu if your report it no
correct, it would be up to the victim in this case.
4 hours is considered NOT right away?
I have represented individuals who quite literally left, gone half a mile, returned, and called to report, and were considered to have been in violation.
wow. but in that case, if i can get in contact with the driver and negotiate with him, wouldn't that be better?
I cannot tell you whether or not you should report or not--I am simply providing you with information so you can make the most informed decision for yourself.
yes, it would--if you could find him
so if i report the police and they couldn't find him, what happens next?
you still admitted to leaving the scene. they do not need him for that, they have your admission. They can still cite you based on your own words.
that is why reporting it now perhaps is now wise.
*not wise, rather
i see. so then it would be me and the police doing to court?
no, just you
and what is the penalty?
against the state's district attorney
what I stated above
up to $1,000, and 6 month as a misdemeanor offense.
i see. so in other words, it would be wiser if the driver to contact me and negotiate with him instead of going through the police?
i see. how long does it usually take? Also, how much time do they have to find me?
in other words, how will i know that the driver is or is not able to find me?
you won't. But the state has 1 year to formally cite you. If he will not be able to find you with a year, no citation will be forthcoming
i see. how much time are the police willing to spend on cases like these though? Also, does that mean I will not be able to leave the US within the next year?
This is low priority. Unless the victim has your license plate in hand, they likely won't pursue.
no, it has nothing to do with you leaving (or not leaving) the US. you are not under arrest and your passport is not being held
Please be well and good luck to you.
I see. but if they have my license plate, they WILL be able to find me though, correct?
I see. From all the cases you've heard, how long does it take for the police to give up on cases like these? Do the police need to work on other cases first and come back to these lower priority cases later?
Also, if they DO find me, will the police come to my house, or will they send me a letter to go to court?
they won't work on this case. if the person appears with evidence, the pursue. otherwise they won't bother
no, you will get a citation in the mail, nobody would appear at your door
they may call you to discuss it, but they won't come to arrest you
I see. Are there camera's in plaza's parking lot though?
I am really thankful and sorry to ask so many questions. I really have no idea.
I am sorry, I cannot answer that. I do not work for the plaza
You are most welcome. I am trying to respond to what I can, and I do believe that you are potentially panicking over nothing serious.
i see. my question actually was, if they do not have my license plate number, would the police go check the camera's if there were any?
There was no personal injury involved, so I doubt this would be pursued ever
I cannot tell you, that I do not
I see. So in most cases, the driver would just contact the insurance and pay for it?
i see. I think i have understood all the process. I really appreciate your time.
Could I ask you anymore questions in the future if I have any?
You are most welcome, glad to held
Should you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to request me by name
I will be happy to assist you
Ok. Thank you very much!
Until then, if satisfied, please do not forget to positively rate my answers so I can obtain credit for my work. Please take care!