According to California Assembly Bill 184, the statute of limitations (SOL) is the maximum amount of time a prosecutor can file criminal charges. Typically misdemeanors have a SOL of 1 year, felonies generally have a SOL of 3 years, and when it comes to hit-and-run charges the SOL is 6 years.
This means that a prosecutor needs to file a hit-and-run charge within six years from the date a person commits the crime. If the six-year period has passed, charges cannot be brought.
Before AB 184 was signed, the SOL for hit and run was three years. A hit and run can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case.
If only property damage was involved, then it is a misdemeanor. On the other hand, if serious injury or death was involved, it is considered a felony offense.
According to the “discovery rule,” the time limit for the SOL starts when a crime is discovered. For example, if an individual commits a hit and run on June 2019 but law enforcement didn't learn about the crime until June 2020, then the prosecution has until June 2026 to file criminal charges.
Remember, not all crimes have a SOL. Common examples include offenses that are subject to the death penalty or life imprisonment, or involve embezzlement of public funds.
If you have been charged with a hit and run in Ventura County, contact Wilfert Law P.C. today at (805) 994-0560 and schedule a free consultation.