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State Bar of California

Vehicle Offenses

There are many crimes which can occur while driving a vehicle. DUIs are perhaps the most common vehicle-related crime. In addition, there are several other notable vehicle crimes, which do not involve an allegation of intoxication.

Driving a vehicle and evading a police officer is a crime (Vehicle Code § 2800.2). To prove evading, the prosecution must show that the pursuing police car was distinctively marked, had a continuous siren, and a forward-facing red light. Simple evading is a misdemeanor (Vehicle Code §2800.1). If the defendant is alleged to have also driven recklessly, the evading charge can be filed as a felony with a three-year state prison maximum or a misdemeanor with a minimum of six months jail. If the defendant is alleged to have caused great bodily injury (“GBI”) or death to another person while evading (Vehicle Code § 2800.3), then the maximum term is seven or ten years, respectively.

Hit and run is another vehicle offense, which can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the harm caused (Vehicle Code §§ 20001, 20002). This crime can be charged based on allegations that the defendant failed to stop, give assistance, and provide required information (including name, address, registration) after being involved in an accident that he or she reasonably should have known may have injured another person or caused property damage. If the defendant is alleged to have fled an accident which caused death or GBI, then the hit and run charge can be filed as a felony with a four-year maximum sentence or as a misdemeanor with a minimum of 90 days jail (though the court has discretion to find less or no jail is required given “the interests of justice”). Hit and run only causing property damage is a misdemeanor.

Another vehicle offense is reckless driving (Vehicle Code § 23103), which is based on allegations that the defendant drove on a highway with wanton disregard for safety or persons or property. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor with a required jail term of five to 90 days. Engaging in a speed contest (Vehicle Code § 23109) is a related misdemeanor, which can result in a jail term of 24 hours to 90 days and a license suspension. Reckless driving causing injury to another carries a jail term of 30 to 180 days. If the defendant has a prior conviction for reckless driving, the penalties are greater in all future cases.

Driving with a suspended or revoked license (Vehicle Code §§ 14601, 14601.2, 14601.2, 14601.3, 14601.4, 14601.5, 12500) is only a misdemeanor offense but carry a hefty fine of around $2,000, a handful of days in jail, and other possible terms like a mandatory vehicle impound or the installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of time. The penalties increase with each subsequent conviction.

Any vehicle offense filed as a misdemeanor or felony requires an experienced attorney to ensure the best possible result. Contact me today for a free confidential consultation regarding your vehicle offense.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Will is a fantastic lawyer. This isn't the first time I've had a run-in with the courts. Will is the hardest working and most thorough attorney I've worked with and absolutely went above and beyond in my case. Every possible avenue of defense from motions to appeals were worked, and though my case didn't end up with the strikeout win we all hope and wish for, I would have no hesitation to hire him again should I ever find myself needing a defense lawyer again. I highly recommend him if you find yourself needing help. Jesse
★★★★★
Will Morehead is a FANTASTIC attorney!!! He is professional, knowledgeable, personable and time-efficient. He answered my call immediately and after I explained my situation, he was able to give me an overview of the law as it related to my situation, and to project the possible outcomes. I felt immediately at ease talking with him. Christine
★★★★★
I worked with Will for about a year. He was able to help me receive my freedom. In order to do that, Will had to overcome multiple challenges and he overcame them all. I'm very happy to have worked with him, he's a very trustful hardworking man. I'm very greatful for everything he did did my family and I and will forever be. N.A
★★★★★
Will Morehead is masterful. He is truly masterful. Never mind that he is pleasant, he has the goods in spades. Remarkably talented and doing the work he was always meant to do, whilst ever refining a skill set that is already stellar. In my case, Will had to sift through, digest, edit and utilize loads of material with less than half the normal time to prepare. Chris
★★★★★
The best defense is indeed a great offense. Lighten your journey by retaining Will Morehead as your criminal defense shield. One of the brightest lights in the profession of legal advocacy, Will Morehead will forever be my "Warrior Will." If you are in need of Criminal Defense protection, it would behoove you to call out to him today. My case resulted in DISMISSAL by the Court on July 27, 2020. Melissanne