The Penalties for Fleeing the Scene of a Hit and Run

  • Posted on: Sep 13 2023
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Leaving the scene of an accident in Virginia is a serious offense. Also called a hit and run, this act carries stringent penalties, including possible incarceration and fines. In this article, we examine the penalties for fleeing the scene of a hit and run in the state of Virginia. 

Types of Hit and Run Charges

Although many people think of hit and run accidents as always involving two vehicles, they can include much more. For example, hit and run accidents can involve a vehicle hitting a motorcycle, a pedestrian, a bicycle, or property. Common types of hit and run charges in Virginia include: 

Failure to stop after an accident resulting in injury or damage to attended property: In Virginia, a driver, regardless of fault, must stop at the scene of an accident resulting in personal injury or property damage and provide vehicle and contact information to the other parties involved or to law enforcement. The driver must also provide assistance to any injured parties. Further, passengers in a vehicle involved in an accident may also have a duty to report the accident under certain circumstances. Specifically, if a driver fails to stop after the type of accident described above, a passenger who is 16 years old or above must report the accident within one day of the crash. 

Failure to report damage to unattended property: When an accident not resulting in injury or death involves an unattended vehicle, the driver must make a reasonable effort to locate the unattended vehicle’s owner. If the driver is unable to do so, he must leave a note with his or her contact information at the scene of the accident and report it to the police within one day. In addition, if a driver in this situation fails to take the above steps, then a passenger who is 16 years of age or older is required to report the accident within one day. 

Penalties for Hit and Run

Class 5 felony: A driver faces a Class 5 felony charge for a hit and run involving an attended vehicle and resulting in injury, death, or property damage of more than $1,000. Class 5 felony penalties include incarceration of between one and 10 years and a fine of up to $2,500.

Class 6 felony: If a driver in the situation above fails to report the accident, then a passenger over 16 years old who fails to report the accident faces a Class 6 felony charge. Class 6 felony penalties include incarceration of between one and five years and a fine of up to $2,500.

Driver misdemeanor charges: A driver involved in a hit and run accident involving attended property that sustains $1000 or less in damage or unattended property that sustains $250 or more in damage faces a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. Class 1 misdemeanor penalties include incarceration of up to twelve months and a fine of up to $2,500. This offense is charged as a Class 4 misdemeanor if property damage is less than $250. The penalty for a Class 4 misdemeanor is a fine of up to $250.

Passenger misdemeanor charges: A passenger who fails to make a required report following an accident with an attended vehicle that results in property damage may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if the property damage is under $250 and the damaged property wasn’t attended at the time of the accident, then the offense can be charged as a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Contact a Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer 

If you are facing a hit and run charge in Virginia, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. At Walker Jones, PC, our talented criminal defense attorneys have years of experience successfully defending clients against criminal charges in Virginia. When you come to us for help, we will mount a thorough and aggressive defense on your behalf and do everything we can to successfully resolve your hit and run case. Please contact us to arrange a meeting with a talented criminal defense attorney. 

Posted in: Criminal Defense