Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Flight from Hit and Run Does Not Qualify as Grounds for Great Bodily Injury Enhancement

The California Court of Appeal determined on Tuesday, October 12th that a great bodily injury enhancement does not apply to a hit and run violation unless the injury was caused or aggravated by the failure to stop and give aid.

The appellant, Mr. Valdez, hit a pedestrian with his car and drove away, injuring the victim. Months later, the appellant turned himself in to the police. Valdez was convicted of hit and run. The jury also found true a great bodily injury enhancement.

The Court of Appeal considered whether a great bodily injury enhancement can be found true in conjunction with a hit and run when the injuries suffered by the victim were not aggravated by the defendant's failure to stop and give aid. The Court held that it could not. Section 12022.7 of the Penal Code requires great bodily injury "in the commission of a felony or attempted felony" and the Vehicle Code section 20001 makes fleeing after an accident criminal. The injuries sustained by the victim were not inflicted by the flight of the defendant, nor were they aggravated by it. The appellant's flight did not alter the non-criminal nature of the accident and therefore the Court reversed the great bodily enhancement.

This case is: People v. Valdez; 4 DCA; October 12, 2010; G042837.