Being charged with a Hit and Run in Virginia can be an intimidating experience. No one sets out on any given day expecting to be involved in a car accident. By it’s very nature, this is something you did not intend to do. And depending on your reaction after that stressful event, you may now be facing criminal charges. Our attorneys are prepared to explain this process to you, talk you through your options, and advocate for you in courts throughout Northern Virginia. Between other drivers, police, prosecutors, insurance agents – you want someone on your side.
Virginia’s Hit and Run Laws
Virginia Code § 46.2-894 lays out the general duty of a driver to stop after an accident “as close to the scene of the accident as possible without obstructing traffic.” The driver is then required to share his or her information including driver’s license information, and vehicle registration information. If necessary, a driver also needs to render appropriate aid to the other driver if they are injured.
Failure to do so is Hit and Run. Hit and Run is a crime in Virginia, and the severity depends on the facts of the accident. If the accident resulted in over $1,000 in damage, or any injuries, then failure to stop is a felony Hit & Run, punishable by up to 10 years incarceration and/or a fine of up to $2,500. If there are no injuries and less than $1,000 in damages, then failure to stop is a misdemeanor Hit & Run punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
Defending a Hit & Run has a few facets. First, is looking at the legal case the Commonwealth can build. Do they actually have they evidence they need? Are there witnesses? Can they prove you were driving? Can they prove that the damages were actually high enough for a felony or that there were actually any injuries? Second is mitigation. Why were you unable to stop? Did you take any action later to address the situation? Can you take driving classes to show that you are taking the situation seriously?
Even if the Commonwealth won’t dismiss your case outright, there are options to look at. Perhaps there is an amended charge that is less serious, or your felony hit and run and be reduced to a misdemeanor. You may be eligible for a Deferred Disposition, where the charge is dismissed at a later date, contingent on certain requirements like staying on good behavior and perhaps community service, driving courses, etc.
What If I’m the Passenger in a Hit and Run?
Passengers have a duty to report a Hit and Run if the driver does not report it.
- If the accident results in injury or death, failure to report the accident is a Class 6 Felony punishable by up to 5 years incarceration and/or a $2,500 fine.
- If the accident results in only property damage, failure to report the accident is a Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
- If the accident results in less than $250 of damage, failure to report the accident is a Class 4 Misdemeanor punishable only by a fine of up to $250.
Virginia Criminal Defense