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The Legal Penalties Associated with a “Hit & Run” Accident

The Legal Penalties Associated with a “Hit & Run” Accident

A traffic collision can be a terrifying and shocking event. In most cases, people are so startled that they can’t think of the proper actions to take, and may even make a detrimental mistake in the heat of the moment. In certain cases, a driver may not even realize they injured another person before taking off. Regardless of the circumstances, Virginia has very strict laws when it comes to “hit-and-run” accidents.

Legally, anyone (driver and passenger) involved in an automobile accident has four key responsibilities:

  1. Keep your vehicle close to the scene of the accident without obstructing traffic
  2. Provide “reasonable” medical assistance to any injured parties
  3. Offer your name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number to the other driver
  4. Report your name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number to any law enforcement officials completing the accident report

Per Virginia Code § 46.2-894, both drivers and passengers can face misdemeanor or felony charges for “leaving the scene of an accident.” It doesn’t matter who is at fault for the collision, both drivers need to stop and follow the proper steps.

A driver can be charged with a misdemeanor under the following circumstances:

  • The accident didn’t result in injury or death
  • The accident caused less than $1,000 in property damage (to an attended vehicle)
  • The accident caused property damage to an unattended vehicle

A driver can be charged with a felony under the following circumstances:

  • The driver was operating the vehicle when the accident occurred
  • Another person (driver or pedestrian) was injured or killed in the accident
  • The accident caused over $1,000 in property damage

A passenger can be charged with a misdemeanor under the following circumstances:

  • The accident didn’t result in injury or death
  • The accident caused property damage to an unattended vehicle

A passenger can be charged with a felony under the following circumstances:

  • Another person (driver or pedestrian) was injured or killed in the accident

The maximum penalties you can face for leaving the scene of an accident depend entirely upon the circumstances of the incident and the charges you’re facing. Most misdemeanor and felony convictions result in costly fines, license suspension, and jail time. Your arrest and conviction will also be listed on your criminal record, which can be accessed by businesses, schools, adoption centers, and housing and rental agencies. Also, the Commonwealth of Virginia forbids any convicted felons from voting and possessing firearms, thereby restricting your personal freedoms as an American citizen.

Protect Your Quality of Life Today

If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident, you’re likely scared and confused about what to do next. Your first step is to contact a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller, we can review your case and help you explore your legal options during a safe and confidential appointment. With over 15 years of legal experience, our Virginia Beach criminal defense lawyers have developed the skills and resources to litigate aggressively and effectively on your behalf. We our help, you can pursue a charge reduction, case dismissal, or acquittal.

Contact the Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller at (757) 517-2942 to schedule a consultation. We have offices located in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk.

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