There are various reasons why a person may leave the scene after an accident, some legitimate and others not. Sometimes, a person has an accident that only involves their vehicle and someone else’s property. Some motorists may be tempted to leave and make no further attempts to follow up when they can’t locate the property owner following the accident. Sometimes persons involved in an accident leave the scene of a crash to receive emergency medical care.
Regardless of the unique circumstances, a person involved in an accident is responsible for leaving their name, phone number, address, driver’s license number and vehicle registration with the other party involved. Motorists should do this immediately following an accident, but if it is not possible, they should make an effort to do so as soon as possible afterward.
What charges could result from a hit-and-run?
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there were 105,600 car crashes in Virginia in 2020. Many of these were hit-and-runs. A person convicted on hit-and-run charges in Virginia may face the following penalties:
- Class 5 felony: If the accident causes bodily harm or death to someone, or if the accident causes more than $1,000 in property damage
- Class 1 misdemeanor: If the accident causes less than $1,000 in property damage
Sometimes, hit-and-runs are a misunderstanding and are resolvable without prosecutors filing criminal charges. The most important factor is that a person involved shows due diligence in sharing their personal information at the time of the crash or immediately after.
This may impact whether you face hit-and-run charges and the defense strategy that you employ in your Virginia criminal case if so.