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Name: People v. Valdez
Case #: G042837
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 10/12/2010
Summary

A great bodily injury enhancement (Pen. Code, sec. 12022.7, subd. (a)) does not attach to a hit and run violation (Veh. Code, sec. 20001, subd. (a)) unless the injury was caused or aggravated by the defendant’s failure to stop and give aid. Appellant hit a pedestrian with his car and drove away. The victim was injured as a result of the accident. Months later, appellant turned himself in to police. A jury convicted him of hit and run and 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 where there are injuries suffered in an accident, but where the injuries are not aggravated by the defendant’s failure to stop and render assistance. The court held it could not. Section 12022.7 requires great bodily injury “in the commission of a felony or attempted felony.” And Vehicle Code section 20001 makes criminal not the accident, but the fleeing. In other words, the only felony alleged to have been committed here was the flight from the scene of the accident. And, the injuries sustained by the victim were not inflicted in the commission of the flight or aggravated by it; rather they occurred prior to the criminal act. Appellant’s subsequent flight does not alter the non-criminal nature of the accident. The court reversed the great bodily injury enhancement.