Saturday, August 7th, saw a Santa Barbara DUI hit-and-run suspect arrested by Santa Barbara police after a brief search. According to reports, police were notified several times via 911 after witnesses saw a man in a truck hit a teen on a bicycle. The teen was dragged for about 20 feet beneath the vehicle.
After the collision, the driver of the truck continued down the road, though he was followed by a few witnesses, including one on a motorcycle. After a description of the driver, the vehicle, and the vehicle’s license plate was provided, police quickly located the vehicle a few blocks away. They discovered damage to the front end of the truck and the driver sleeping in a nearby garage. After conducting a field sobriety test, the suspect was arrested on DUI hit-and-run with injury charges.
The suspect was booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.
Felony hit-and-run charges with injury are covered under California Vehicle Code 20001 VC and are described as fleeing the scene of a car accident in which someone has been injured or killed. Generally, hit-and-run charges are filed as misdemeanors. However, when someone is injured or killed, the crime is usually charged as a felony.
Interestingly, California Vehicle Code 20001 VC is a “wobbler,” meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The severity of the charge depends on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. As stated above, hit-and-run cases that result in injury or death are charged as a felony more often than not.
When 20001 VC is charged as a misdemeanor, the potential penalties include up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000 dollars. In some cases, a judge will sentence the defendant to misdemeanor probation in lieu of jail time.
Felony charges include the potential penalties of up to 4 years in California state prison and/or a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000 dollars. In some cases, a judge will award felony probation in lieu of jail time.