& Criminal Defense
Virginia Code §46.2-894 through 46.2-902 governs what happens when a motor vehicle accident occurs but a driver leaves the scene without first providing the information required by these laws. This is most often referred to as “Hit and Run,” though the Virginia Code does not call it that. Depending on the seriousness of the accident and the record of the accused, conviction can result in everything from fines and license suspensions to prison time and a felony record in the most serious cases. An experienced Fairfax Hit and Run Lawyer is a must to protect your rights and future. Call (703) 337-3773 now for a free consultation or visit our Contact Page.
Any time there is an accident and someone is killed or injured, or an attended vehicle or other attended property is damaged, a driver is required to: (1) stop right away (2) as close to the accident as possible and (3) report their name, address, license number, and registration number to State Police OR local law enforcement OR to the driver or other occupant of the other vehicle or custodian of the damaged property if it is not a vehicle. If there is an injury, a driver is also required to give reasonable assistance.
If injuries prevent a driver complying with this law right away, they must still make a report to State Police or local law enforcement as soon as “reasonably possible” and make a reasonable effort to locate the other driver, an occupant, or the custodian of damaged property and provide their information.
If anyone is injured in the accident, the Driver is also required assist them, including taking them to the hospital or doctor if is appears necessary or the injured person requests it.
A conviction under this law is a Class 5 felony (up to 10 years in prison) if someone is killed or injured or if the damage to property is $1000 or more. If the damage is $1000 or less, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor (up to a year in jail).
Where there is an accident involving “attended property,” but the driver does not stop, any passenger who is 16 year of age or older is required to make a report to State Police or local law enforcement within 24 hours. Failing to do so is a Class 6 felony (up to 5 years in prison) if someone is hurt or killed, a Class 1 misdemeanor (up to a year in jail) if there is only property damage, and a Class 4 misdemeanor (up to a $250 fine) if it is only property damage valued at less than $250.
If an accident happens, but the damaged vehicle or property is unattended (no one is there), the Driver is required to make a reasonable effort to locate the custodian of the property and, if they find them, provide their name, address, license number, and registration number. If the custodian cannot be found, they must leave a note at the scene of the accident in a conspicuous place which gives their identity and contact information. In addition to leaving a note, the Driver is also required to make a written report to State Police or local law enforcement within 24 hours. That report must contain not only name, address, license number and registration number, it must also give the time, date, and location of the accident and a description of the damage.
If the Driver cannot make these reports because they themselves are injured, they must do so “as soon as reasonably possible.”
Where there is an accident involving unattended property and the driver does not stop, all passengers 16 years or older are required to report the accident within 24 hours to local law enforcement or State Police. Failing to do this is a Class 1 misdemeanor (up to a year in jail) if there is $250 or more of damage, and a Class 4 misdemeanor (up to a $250 fine) if there is less than $250 of damage.
If you have been in an accident as a driver or passenger, whether the property involved was attended or unattended, and whether there were injuries or just property damage, and you left the scene without providing your information, the next minutes and hours are critically important. What you do next can be the difference between being charged with a felony or not being charged at all. Get the advice of a an Hit and Run attorney serving the Fairfax area immediately by calling (703) 337-3773. Do not go it alone and do not try to navigate this complicated law by yourself.
If you have been charged with any kind of Hit and Run, or are worried you might be, call now for a free consultation with a Fairfax Hit and Run lawyer at (703) 337-3773 or visit our Contact Page. Our lawyers have the experience and understanding to guide you through a stressful situation and give you the best chance to avoid it causing permanent problems in your life.
Fill out the contact form or call us at (703) 337-3773 to schedule your free consultation.