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Name: People v. Harbert
Case #: A118186
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/14/2009
Summary

Constructive knowledge that another person is involved in the accident is sufficient to support a conviction for Vehicle Code section 20001 (hit and run with injury). Appellant, the driver of the vehicle involved in a fatality collision with a pedestrian, was convicted at jury trial of Vehicle Code section 20001 and Penal Code section 12022.7. Vehicle Code section 20001 requires proof that the driver/defendant had knowledge that another person is involved in the accident and knowledge that the person is injured. In People v. Holford (1965) 63 Cal.2d 74, the California Supreme Court held that constructive knowledge of injury is sufficient to support a conviction. Appellant contended that although he knew he had struck something large, he did not realize it was a human. The appellate court here found no reason why the Holford rule would not also apply to knowledge that a collision involved a person and even if defendant claimed no actual knowledge, there was substantial evidence that the accident was of such a nature that one would reasonably anticipate that it involved a person.
Because personal infliction of great bodily injury is not an element of Vehicle Code section 20001, a defendant may be sentenced on both the offense and a great bodily injury enhancement. The court also rejected appellant’s claim that sentence for Penal Code section 12022.7 was not proper, finding that personal infliction of great bodily injury is not an element of Vehicle Code section 20001. Although the two statutes may overlap, the gravamen of section 20001 is not the injury but leaving the scene. When they do overlap, conviction and sentence for both is proper, with punishment for one of the sentences to be stayed pursuant to Penal Code section 654.