MANASSAS LAWYER FIGHTS FOR THOSE CHARGED WITH HIT-AND-RUN
Let’s say that you are in a vehicle accident that was not your fault. You had the green light and never even glimpsed another vehicle. There’s little damage, you’re running late, and there don’t seem to be any injuries. Do not be tempted to flee. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime.
We cannot predict how we will react in such a circumstance, but staying at the scene of an accident and meeting your legal responsibilities is the way to avoid being charged with hit-and-run. Especially if someone is injured, hit-and-run will be handled as a serious crime in this state.
WHAT IS THE LEGAL DEFINITION OF “HIT-AND-RUN”?
A hit-and-run happens in Virginia when a driver leaves a traffic collision scene without sharing auto insurance information with the other motorist or without assisting the injured. Over 4,800 hit-and-run cases were reported to Virginia authorities in 2018.
A hit-and-run may be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony in this state. It is a felony when the accident caused injuries or death. It’s also a felony charge if the damages exceed $1,000. A hit-and-run is charged as a misdemeanor if the damages are less than $1,000 and no one is injured.
HIT-AND-RUN DETAILS AND PENALTIES
Almost all hit-and-run offenses in Virginia are charged as Class 1 or Class 4 misdemeanors or as Class 5 felonies:
- A Class 4 misdemeanor is the charge if the property or vehicle hit was not attended and if the damage is valued under $250. A conviction will be penalized with a fine.
- A Class 1 misdemeanor will be the charge if the property or vehicle was attended and if the damage is valued at less than $1,000, or if not attended, the damage is valued from $250 to $1,000. A conviction can be penalized with as much as a year behind bars.
- A Class 5 felony is the charge if a motorist flees the scene of a crash with an attended vehicle or attended property and there was an injury, a death, or more than $1,000 of damage. A conviction may be penalized with a prison term of up to ten years.
Probation is the actual sentence for many hit-and-run convictions. Additionally, the offender’s driver’s license will almost certainly be suspended, and restitution will probably be ordered if a prosecutor proves that the offender caused property damage or injuries.
HOW DO THE POLICE HANDLE HIT-AND-RUN INCIDENTS?
Virginia’s law enforcement agencies scrutinize hit-and-run accidents thoroughly. They often obtain evidence from video cameras and from eyewitnesses, and they frequently find the perpetrator they’re seeking.
If you have committed a hit-and-run offense, or if you’re falsely charged with a hit-and-run, talk to an attorney before police officers talk to you. Exercise your right to remain silent if the police arrest you for hit-and-run, and insist on having your attorney present for any interrogation.
Drivers in accidents that involve occupied vehicles are required to stop, swap insurance details, and assist any injured parties (or call for assistance). The failure to meet these obligations can trigger a felony charge if the accident killed or injured anyone or caused over $1,000 in damages.
IF YOU’RE CHARGED WITH THE CRIME
A conviction for hit-and-run as a felony may be penalized with a serious fine, a jail term, and a revocation or suspension of your driver’s license. If drugs or alcohol were involved or if anyone was seriously injured, time in jail is probable. You do not want to be convicted of a hit-and-run.
If you face the charge, the good news is that a hit-and-run can be challenging to prove. Prosecutors typically rely on circumstantial evidence and eyewitness statements in these cases. Hit-and-run charges sometimes must be resolved at trial, so you must have the right lawyer representing you.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT ATTORNEY
Prevailing against hit-and-run charges will require the legal skills and knowledge of an attorney like Scott C. Nolan. With an extensive background in traffic law as well as criminal defense, Manassas hit-and-run defense attorney Scott C. Nolan will put that background to work for you.
If you felt confused, or you weren’t aware of the collision when it occurred, or if you have been falsely charged and you’re innocent, Scott C. Nolan can ensure that your side of the case is plainly told and completely understood.
Scott C. Nolan is a member of the National College for DUI Defense and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Since 2000, he’s been defending persons in Northern Virginia accused of crimes including hit-and-run, reckless driving, and DUI.
He will address your concerns and protect your rights while working for a favorable outcome to your case. To arrange a consultation or to learn more, contact Scott C. Nolan’s law offices by phone or online. It’s your right to have a good attorney’s advice and representation.