Fighting Your Charges with the Virginia DUI Attorney
Serious charges can be levied against any person who leaves the scene after having been involved in a vehicular accident. The law requires that any person involved in an accident must stop and render aid to the injured, as well as to stop and be available to law enforcement after any vehicle collision.
If you need a powerful defense after being charged for leaving the scene, contact the Virginia DUI attorney from the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone today! The firm offers free case evaluations to discuss the details of your case.
Charges and Penalties For a Hit and Run in VA
Virginia law requires drivers to stop immediately if they are involved in an accident that results in a fatality, an injury, or property damage. The statute does not state that only at-fault drivers have this duty. In Virginia, any person involved in a collision is required by law to stop. They must also report their name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number to the State Police or to the local law enforcement agency responding to the accident. That information must also be reported to anyone who was injured in the collision. The driver must also render reasonable assistance to anyone injured in the crash, including taking them to a hospital if they need medical treatment.
A violation of the statute for a hit and run is a Class 5 felony if the accident caused an injury, a fatality, or more than $1,000 in property damage. In Virginia, a Class 5 felony can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $2,500. The charge qualifies as a Class 1 misdemeanor if the accident results in less than $1,000 in property damage. A Class 1 misdemeanor conviction can carry a jail sentence of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500.
Passengers also have accident reporting requirements under Virginia law. If the driver fails to stop at the scene of an accident in violation of the law, a passenger who is 16 years old or older must report the accident within 24 hours from the time of the crash. If they fail to do so, they violate Virginia Code § 46.2-895. If the collision resulted in an injury or a fatality, the passenger’s failure to report is considered a Class 6 felony.
When Is Leaving the Scene of an Accident in VA Acceptable?
If you suffer serious injuries in an accident that prevent you from complying with the accident reporting law, you can seek medical treatment as soon as possible. However, you still have to make the mandatory report to law enforcement as soon as reasonably possible.
Additionally, if you do not have cell phone reception at the location of your accident and cannot contact the police, you can drive a short distance from the scene in order to call the authorities. If you leave the area to make a phone call, you should return to the crash location as soon as possible. Otherwise, authorities may mistakenly believe you are attempting to flee from the scene of the accident.
If a driver strikes an unattended vehicle, they must make a reasonable effort to locate the owner of the vehicle before they leave the scene. If you cannot find the owner, you must leave a note at the scene of the accident with sufficient information for the owner to locate you. Additionally, you must still report the accident to authorities within 24 hours.
If you have questions about leaving the scene of an accident in VA, contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone today. We will take the time to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you have about the Virginia criminal justice process.
What to Expect from Your Case
It is often believed that a person leaving the scene of an accident was either:
- Under the influence of alcohol
- Impaired by drugs
- Did not have a valid license
- Did not have insurance
These “hit and run” accidents could lead to either felony or misdemeanor charges being filed against the driver when that person is caught by law enforcement – which frequently takes place, as there are often witnesses or video that identifies the vehicle and license plate.
If you are in need of legal advice concerning an accident in which it is alleged that you left the scene, it is vital that you get in touch with a Virginia DUI attorney at the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone at once. There may have been witnesses to the accident who provided a description of the automobile and possibly the license plate number to the law enforcement authorities. Immediate legal consultation and representation are vital in such a situation.
Building a Powerful Defense
When there is a legal matter involving charges of leaving the scene of an accident, many factors could impact the final outcome of the case. These can include determining whether the driver was actually under the influence or ability impaired, or if injury or great bodily harm or a death resulted from the accident. Your rights can be protected if you were involved in an accident and left the scene.
If you have been charged or are under investigation and will be facing charges of hit & run, you need an experienced and professional defense attorney who will take action to assist you in getting the charges dismissed or reduced or help you fight for any advantage at trial. Get help from the Virginia DUI lawyer. We are experienced, dedicated and aggressive and take on clients fully determined to seek out any possible alternative that could be a benefit in a case of leaving the scene.
Contact Attorney Pignone today to fight for your freedom!