Virginia imposes steep penalties for drivers who leave the scene of a collision. These penalties may include fines, adding to the driver’s permanent criminal record, and jail time. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, the driver’s record, and other relevant factors, leaving the scene of a collision can be prosecuted from a Class 4 misdemeanor to a Class 5 felony. It is important to have an effective legal defense strategy, as hit and run cases carry a range of penalties.
Hit and Run Law in Virginia
Virginia law requires drivers to remain at the scene of any collision that results in property damage, injury, or death. Drivers must contact law enforcement and stay until they are dismissed by a responding officer.
After a traffic collision, drivers must stop on the side of the road as close as possible to the scene of the collision so as not to obstruct traffic but not to leave the scene. When law enforcement arrives, drivers are obligated to provide their name, address, vehicle registration, and driver’s license number.
If a driver is involved in a collision with a property but the owner is not present, the driver must make a reasonable effort to reach the owner to report the incident as well as contacting law enforcement. Passengers involved in collisions are also required to report incidents to law enforcement.
The only exception under which a driver or passenger is not required to immediately report a collision to law enforcement is if they have sustained injuries that prevent them from safely doing so. However, they should still reach out to law enforcement to report the collision and provide information as soon as possible.
Hit and Run Penalties in Virginia
Penalties for leaving the scene of a collision range depending on the circumstances and facts of the case. The most common deciding factors include the amount of property damage, the extent of personal injury caused, and if the collision resulted in death.
A conviction carries penalties of fines ranging into the thousands of dollars and jail time. If the collision was severe and the driver fled the scene, it may be prosecuted as a Class 5 felony which can result in jail time of up to 10 years. Any driver who is convicted of leaving the scene of a collision that resulted in injury or death will have his or her license automatically suspended for a full year.
Traffic Defense Strategies
It is extremely discouraged for a driver to represent himself or herself in hit and run cases. Effective defense strategies in these cases require the expert counsel and aid of a professional legal advocate. Traffic defense attorneys are well-versed in examining evidence, finding facts, and courtroom procedures. Evidence may be found circumstantial, the fault may not be one-sided, or there may be issues with how law enforcement reacted to the situation, among many other possibilities. These are not easily uncovered defense strategies for the average person. It is imperative for any defendant involved in a hit and run case to reach out for professional legal guidance.
Consult the Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge
If you or a loved one has been involved in a hit and run, it is extremely important to find a legal advocate to review options and legal strategies. The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge is here to listen to you, review the facts of your case, and advise you on the best way to move forward. Our experienced staff will help find the best outcome and assure you during this uncertain time. Call our office at 571.559.7229 or request a consultation online today.