Criminal Law

2160. Fleeing the Scene Following Accident: Enhancement for Vehicular Manslaughter

If you find the defendant guilty of vehicular manslaughter [as a felony] [under Count ______], you must then decide whether the People have proved the additional allegation that the defendant fled the scene of the accident after committing vehicular manslaughter.

To prove this allegation, the People must prove that:

1. The defendant knew that (he/she) had been involved in an accident that injured another person [or knew from the nature of the accident that it was probable that another person had been injured];


2. The defendant willfully failed to stop immediately at the scene of the accident.

Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. It is not required that he or she intend to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage.

The duty to stop immediately means that the driver must stop his or her vehicle as soon as reasonably possible under the circumstances.

[To be involved in an accident means to be connected with the accident in a natural or logical manner. It is not necessary for the driver's vehicle to collide with another vehicle or person.]

The People have the burden of proving this allegation beyond a reasonable doubt. If the People have not met this burden, you must find that this allegation has not been proved.

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction defining the elements of the sentencing factor. (See Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) 530 U.S. 466, 475-476, 490 [120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435].)

Give this instruction if the defendant is charged with an enhancement under Vehicle Code section 20001(c). This enhancement only applies to felony vehicular manslaughter convictions (Pen. Code, §§ 191.5, 192(c)(1) & (3), and 192.5(a) & (c)) and must be pleaded and proved. (Veh. Code, § 20001(c).) Give the bracketed "felony" in the introductory paragraph if the jury is also being instructed on misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.

Give the bracketed paragraph defining "involved in an accident" if that is an issue in the case.

The court must determine whether to apply this enhancement only to individuals who personally commit the vehicular manslaughter. A depublished case would have precluded giving this instruction if the People allege that the defendant aided and abetted but did not personally commit the manslaughter. (People v. Calhoun (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 1031, 1044. REVIEW GRANTED and DEPUBLISHED, Nov. 2, 2004, D042645 [24 Cal.Rptr.3d 865, 106 P.3d 304].)


Enhancement. Veh. Code, § 20001(c).

Knowledge of Accident and Injury. People v. Holford (1965) 63 Cal.2d 74, 79-80 [45 Cal.Rptr. 167, 403 P.2d 423]; People v. Carter (1966) 243 Cal.App.2d 239, 241 [52 Cal.Rptr. 207]; People v. Hamilton (1978) 80 Cal.App.3d 124, 133-134 [145 Cal.Rptr. 429].

Willful Failure to Perform Duty. People v. Crouch (1980) 108 Cal.App.3d Supp. 14, 21-22 [166 Cal.Rptr. 818].

Involved Defined. People v. Bammes (1968) 265 Cal.App.2d 626, 631 [71 Cal.Rptr. 415]; People v. Sell (1950) 96 Cal.App.2d 521, 523 [215 P.2d 771].

Immediately Stopped Defined. People v. Odom (1937) 19 Cal.App.2d 641, 646-647 [66 P.2d 206].

Secondary Sources

2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against Public Peace and Welfare, § 245.

6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 142, Crimes Against the Person, § 142.02, Ch. 145, Narcotics and Alcohol Offenses, § 145.03[4][a] (Matthew Bender).

(New January 2006)