If you have been charged with fleeing the scene of an accident without providing identifying information and rendering aid, you may face jail time, fines, and license revocation. Being arrested for a crime can be stressful and confusing. The skilled and experienced Virginia hit-and-run attorneys at Leary Law, P.C. can help you during this difficult time.
We will assess the details of your hit-and-run case and determine the best way to proceed on your behalf. Leary Law, P.C. will fight to protect your rights. If you or someone you love has been charged with a hit-and-run in Virginia, call us today for a free and confidential consultation.
What Is the Definition of Hit-and-Run?
A hit-and-run is when a driver involved in a collision with another vehicle, person, or property leaves the scene without stopping to provide their contact information, render assistance, or report the accident to the police.
Virginia Hit-and-Run Laws
According to Virginia Code § 46.2-894, all drivers involved in crashes have three general responsibilities:
- Stop as possible to the accident scene without blocking traffic
- Provide medical assistance to any injured person
- Report your contact information, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number to the authorities, to the injured person, or to the driver or another occupant of the vehicle involved in the accident
If the driver is unable to meet these requirements due to injury, they’re required to report the accident to the police as soon as reasonably possible and locate the injured individual, another driver, or vehicle occupant in order to provide them with identifying information.
In addition, according to Virginia Code § 46.2-895, if a driver commits a hit-and-run, a passenger in their car age 16 or above is required to report the accident to the police or law enforcement within 24 hours.
Failing to carry out these responsibilities is considered a hit-and-run. Leaving the scene of an accident can be a felony in Virginia. If you have been charged with a hit-and-run, it’s critical that you contact an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney as soon as you can.
Penalties for a Hit-and-Run
The penalty for a hit-and-run depends on the circumstances involved with your particular accident. Whether the driver or passenger is charged, whether injuries or death resulted, and the extent of the property damage are all factors that will be considered.
The driver in a hit-and-run could be convicted of a Class 5 felony if the property or vehicle was attended and the accident resulted in an injury, death, or property damage greater than $1,000.
A passenger in a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run could be convicted of a Class 6 felony if the property or vehicle was attended and the accident resulted in injury or death.
A hit-and-run driver could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor if the accident resulted in property damage of $1,000 or less to attended property, or property damage of $250 or more to unattended property. They could get charged with a Class 4 misdemeanor if the property was unattended and resulted in no more than $250 in property damage.
A hit-and-run passenger could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor if the accident resulted in any damage to attended property, or a Class 4 misdemeanor if the damage to unattended property was no more than $250.
Potential punishments include:
Class 5 felony: 1 to 10-year prison sentence and a fine of no more than $2,500
Class 6 felony: 1 to 5-year prison sentence and a fine not to exceed $2,500
Class 1 misdemeanor: Jail time of up to 12 months and a fine not to exceed $2,500
Class 4 misdemeanor: Fine of no more than $250
Common Defenses Against Hit-and-Run Charges
Some defenses a hit-and-run lawyer might use include:
- Unaware of Injury: Knowledge is a critical component of establishing fault in a hit-and-run. This defense may be available to you if you were unaware that you caused injury to someone.
- Response to an Emergency: You may have this defense if you were involved in an accident while you were driving to the hospital because of a medical emergency.
- Involuntary Intoxication: The defense of involuntary intoxication can be tried if you believe you were drugged or somehow became involuntarily drunk, and you were then involved in a crash.
How Our Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyers Could Help
Under Virginia law, drivers are required to stop after an accident and exchange required information. Leaving the scene of a car accident is a crime and can result in a conviction. If you are facing hit-and-run charges, you need a skilled and experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney on your side. Call Leary Law, P.C. now at (703) 359-7111 for a free, no-obligation consultation.