Hit and Run Virginia
If you face charges for hit and run in Virginia, you need the best defense available to you. Learn about Virginia laws and how attorney Jay P. Mykytiuk can help defend your freedom.
Charged with Virginia Hit and Run?
If you are involved in an accident in Virginia, it is imperative that you remain at the scene to exchange information, call emergency services, and try and aid any injured victims.
Leaving the scene of an accident, known as a hit and run, is a serious criminal offense in this state. Depending on the severity of the offense, if the driver fails to stop after the accident, he or she could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony and face a myriad of repercussions, from fines to a lengthy prison term.
The driver involved in the hit and run case is responsible for taking such injured person to the hospital. He is also responsible for compensating the expense for the injuries sustained in the car accident.
If you have been charged or if you are the owner of a vehicle involved in a hit and run in Virginia, it is important that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. A conviction on your permanent criminal record could have lifelong impacts outside of the immediate punishments, and you need a dedicated legal advocate to protect your rights at every turn.
Attorney Jay Mykytiuk of Scrofano Law has practiced in Virginia for over a decade and has successfully handled countless hit and run charges. Whether you’re facing felony or misdemeanor hit and run charges, he has the expertise to craft a strong defense on your behalf and give you the best chance at winning your case so you can move on from this frightening experience.
Virginia Hit and Run Statute
Leaving the scene of an accident, typically described as a “hit-and-run crime” when a motor vehicle operator convicted of accident runs after the accident, is a serious crime that generally emerges out when the driver fails to stop, offer help to the person injured in the accident, report accidents involving damage, and provide identifying information about oneself. Despite the reason for the accident, Virginia law mandates specific actions to be taken. Don’t be mistaken — being a passenger does not mean you do not need to do anything. Virginia law enforcement officers will investigate both drivers and passengers of such damaged vehicles.
Virginia Code § 46.2-894 states that “The person convicted of a motor vehicle accident in which a person is killed or injured or in which an attended vehicle or other attended property is damaged shall immediately stop as close to the scene of the accident as possible without obstructing traffic” and report the accident to the necessary authorities.
The person responsible for the collision will be responsible for the compensation of the vehicle collided and any other damaged property in such an accident.
Hit and Run Accidents: Obligations of Drivers and Passengers
In addition, after you’ve been involved in this type of accident, there are also other obligations you have to fulfill:
- You have an obligation to report any injuries, your name, address, as well as driver’s license number and vehicle registration number to the local law enforcement agency or State police as soon as possible. If someone in another vehicle is injured, you should offer your assistance and try to help them get to the doctor or a hospital if it is necessary.
- If you’ve also sustained an injury, report the incident to the police as soon as you can. You should provide the same information, including your driver’s license number and vehicle registration number, your name, address, and information regarding the other vehicle and its occupants.
- If you’ve hit a parked, unattended vehicle or property, you have to make a reasonable effort to find the owner. If you are not successful in that search, you have to leave a note containing your contact information and report it to the police within 24 hours.
Both the responsibilities and charges for leaving the scene of an accident depend on whether you were behind the wheel or a passenger, whether the accident involved an unattended vehicle or attended vehicle, the amount of property damaged, and whether the accident led to injury or death of a pedestrian or other driver.
According to the Virginia Code, every person 16 years of age or older who was in the vehicle also has the duty to report “accidents involving injury, death, or damage to attended property,” according to the Virginia Code. So if you are a passenger in the vehicle that was involved in the accident involving injury, and the driver failed to stop and render reasonable assistance to the injured person or persons, you must report such an accident within 24 hours. Your report should include the vehicle registration number forthwith and other possible information about the driver to the State Police. The report has to include everything you know about the hit-and-run accident and the driver, including his or her name, address, or any other relevant information.
An accident involving a party leaving the accident scene is often a subject of a police department investigation. Talking to the police about this type of accident without consulting a lawyer that regularly deals with these traffic violations can be a mistake because law enforcement officers are trained professionals.
Depending on the details of the accident, your hit and run might be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, with possible penalties including fines, jail time, and a suspension of your license. If you have been charged with this type of accident, reach out to Jay P. Mykytiuk of Scrofano Law to learn what your options are for defense.
Talk to a criminal defense expert today. Call 202-318-3761 or contact us right away.
Misdemeanor vs Felony Hit and Run in Virginia
There are a few different types of charges that you could face; what charge you receive depends on the specific circumstances of your accident.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident – Driver (Felony)
If the accident caused an injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage, you could be charged with a Class 5 felony. This is the most severe charge you can receive. If convicted of a Class 5 felony in VA, you could face up to 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident – Driver (Misdemeanor)
If the accident did not cause an injury or death, nor did it result in more than $1,000 in property damage, you could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. An accident with an unattended vehicle or other property that causes more than $250 in property damage will also result in charge of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor, you could face up to 12 months in prison and a fine of $2,500.
If your accident involves an unattended vehicle or other property and did not cause more than $250 in property damage, you could be charged with a Class 4 misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a Class 4 misdemeanor, you could be fined up to $250.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident – Passenger (Felony)
Even if you were not driving, leaving the scene of an accident as a passenger could cost you. If the accident caused an injury or death, and you as the passenger failed to alert emergency services, you could be charged with a Class 6 felony. If you are convicted of a Class 6 felony, you could face up to 5 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident – Passenger (Misdemeanor)
In contrast to hit and run laws for drivers, if an accident does not result in injury or death, a passenger cannot be charged with a felony. Even if there was severe property damage, a passenger could only be charged with a misdemeanor.
If the other vehicle in the accident was attended to, a passenger could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the vehicle was unattended, but the accident caused more than $250 in property damage, a passenger could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor as well. If you are convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor, you could face up to 12 months in prison and a fine of $2,500.
If the vehicle was unattended and the property damage was less than $250, a passenger could be charged with a Class 4 misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a Class 4 misdemeanor, you could be fined up to $250.
The above charges should never be taken lightly. To prevent or limit the serious consequences outlined above, you must contact an experienced Virginia criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. When you begin working with Jay P. Mykytiuk of Scrofano Law, he will hear your side of the story and establish a strong defense strategy.
Looking for a VA hit and run Defense Attorney? Contact Jay P. Mykytiuk, Trial Attorney, now!
Hit and Run VA License Suspension Laws
In addition to criminal punishments, the court may also suspend your license in certain situations. Typically, a hit and run conviction will result in your license being suspended for up to 6 months.
That may also be the case if you are convicted as either a passenger or a driver in a hit-and-run accident involving damage exceeding $500 of an attended or unattended property or vehicle.
However, if an individual is convicted as a driver, not the passenger, of a vehicle in a hit-and-run accident causing injury, and the driver failed to stop and disclose their identity at the scene, the DMV will suspend their driver’s license for a year. If someone was injured in the accident or you were driving on a suspended license, the punishments could be even more severe.
If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), a hit and run conviction is typically considered a “serious driving violation.” If you are convicted of a serious driving violation twice in a three-year span, your CDL could be suspended for 60 days. If you are convicted of a third serious driving violation in that three-year span, your CDL could be suspended for 120 days.
Losing your CDL could severely impact your job and your life. If you hold a CDL and face a serious moving violation charge, like Virginia reckless driving, please immediately contact a lawyer. Criminal defense attorney Jay P. Mykytiuk is prepared to fight for your right to drive.
Contact a Virginia Hit and Run Law Firm Today
As you can see, the State of Virginia treats hit and run incidents extremely seriously. The charges specified above are worst-case scenarios, however, and attorney Jay P. Mykytiuk will work on your behalf to mitigate the effects of a hit and run charge as much as possible.
If your lawyer can argue that the penalties for a hit and run are inappropriate for your situation, you might end up with a substantially decreased sentence. The following are a few of the most typical mitigating elements, but keep in mind that your sentence is still up to the discretion of the judge and the factors of your unique situation:
Virginia Code § 46.2-894 establishes a unique arrangement for injured drivers. You might have the ability to show that your injuries prevented you from carrying out the responsibilities described above and that you reported the mishap as quickly as you were able to. If you and your attorney can prove that the mishap impaired your judgment or that you were otherwise indisposed by a medical emergency, the court might dismiss your charges.
Leaving the scene of a mishap is a crime in this state. That implies that the authorities have an obligation to follow a particular criminal procedure in these types of cases. You and your attorney should check to make sure that warrants and other aspects of law enforcement procedures are properly handled. If they weren’t, your attorney might be able to argue that for your charges to be dropped on procedural premises.
You weren’t the driver:
While it might seem obvious, the state needs to be able to prove that you were associated with the accident. If you have proof showing that you were not the driver, you must bring it to your attorney’s attention immediately to mount a strong defense. If this is the case, the court will want to know who was driving your vehicle at the time of the mishap and why they were driving it. Being able to show that your vehicle was stolen or that you were someplace else at the time might help establish a defense that can lead to your charges being dropped.
Classes and programs:
Depending upon the details of your accident, your attorney may advise you to take specific classes or programs prior to your court date. The idea here is to show that you are dedicated to being a more responsible driver without the intervention of the justice system. In many cases, this solution can lead to reduced charges.
In order to explore the above options and develop a defense strategy for your particular case, you should contact an attorney right away. If you or someone you know receives a letter from the MPD Hit and Run Investigations Unit or is arrested for leaving the scene of the accident after colliding, please contact Jay P. Mykytiuk today for a full case evaluation.
He has represented hundreds of defendants charged with criminal and traffic offenses in state and federal courts in Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia.
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