HIT AND RUN CHARGES IN VIRGINIA: EVERYTHING YOU YOU NEED TO KNOW
When You Can be Charged with Hit and Run
In Virginia, you can be charged with a hit and run crime if you leave the scene of an accident without exchanging insurance information or providing aid to an injured driver. Based on a variety of circumstances, a hit and run charge can range from a misdemeanor to a felony in Virginia. In general, the severity of the charge will be determined by the the value of the damage caused in the accident. For example, if the value of the damage caused by the accident is under $1000 then it will be charged as a misdemeanor. Likewise, if the value of the damage is above $1,000 then it will charged as a felony. There are several different variations of hit and run charges in Virginia, so let dissect each one.
An Accident Involving an Attended Vehicle. Virginia Code § 46.2-894
It is a crime to fail to stop after an accident which results in injury or damage to attended property. The VA Code requires any driver, regardless of fault, to stop at the scene of an accident that results in property damage or personal injury. The driver must provide contact and vehicle information to the other driver, injured victims, law enforcement, or a custodian of the damaged property. The driver must also provide help and aid to any injured parties at the scene of the accident.
An Accident Involving an Unattended Vehicle. Virginia Code § 46.2-896
Next, the VA Code provides a section for accidents involving unattended vehicles. In an accident, in which no one is injured or killed, and the other vehicle or property involved in the accident is unattended, the driver must make a reasonable effort to locate the owner to report the accident. In the event the driver is unable to do so, the driver must leave a note with his contact information at the accident scene and report the accident to the police within 24 hours.
The Duty of Passengers to Report Accidents
If a driver fails to stop at the scene of an accident in violation of either of the above referenced laws, a passenger who is 16 years old or older must report the accident within 24 hours from the time of the crash to the police. Virginia Code § 46.2-896. Virginia Code § 46.2-897.
What are the Penalties for a Hit and Run Charge
The penalties for a hit and run charge depend on the value of the damage to the property, whether anyone was killed or injured in the accident, and whether the other vehicle was attended or not. Below is a break-down of some of the different penalties based on these factors.
Class 5 felony. If you were the driver of the vehicle, the vehicle was attended, and the accident resulted in an injury, death, or property damage greater than $1,000. A Class 5 Felony may include a prison sentence of 1 to 10 years and a fine of up to $2,500.
Class 6 felony. If you were the passenger in an accident with an attended vehicle that resulted in an injury or death. A Class 6 Felony may include a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years and fines of $2,500 or less.
Misdemeanor Class 1 or 4. If you were the driver, you may be convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor if the property damage was less than $1,000 in an accident with attended property. If the vehicle is unintended, it is a class 1 misdemeanor if the damage is $250 or more. On the other hand, the offense is a Class 4 misdemeanor if the property damage is less than $250.
Misdemeanor Class 1 or 4. A passenger may be convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor for failure to make the required reporting in the event of an accident with an attended vehicle that results in any property damage. If the property damage is less than $250 and the property was unattended, the offense is a Class 4 misdemeanor.
How We Can Help
The Pickett Law Group, PLLC is an experienced law firm with two generations of former prosecutors, who have fought from both sides of the courtroom on issues like hit and runs in Virginia. Our experience allows us to think like the prosecution and understand the tactics they will attempt will utilize against you. Contact us today and we will begin fighting on your behalf to keep you out of jail.