The classic image of a hit and run case is when one car hits another, injures someone, and flees. But the charge of hit and run is more subtle than that. There are cases where even passengers can be charged with this crime.
If you are facing this crime, you need to mount a strong legal defense to avoid jail and fines. You need to get a Richmond lawyer that can defend you from hit and run charges like the Pendleton Law Team.
Why Was I Charged?
If you get involved in an accident, there are several duties you must fulfill to avoid the charge of hit and run. There are three things you must do after an accident:
- Stop at the scene without obstructing traffic as best you can.
- Render reasonable assistance to anyone injured in the accident.
- Give your full name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number to the police department and anyone involved in the accident.
If you are taken to the hospital because of your injuries, you must give this information to the police as soon as your injuries allow or you could be charged.
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What if No One Is Around?
Leaving the scene of an accident where there is only property damage can also leave you charged with hit and run. Even something like hitting a mailbox or a fence can put you on the hook for this charge. But what if the property is unattended?
In this case, you have to make a reasonable attempt to locate the owner and give them your information if you find them. If you cannot find them, then you must leave a note including all the same information you’d give in a report and leave it in a conspicuous place at the scene of the accident.
You also must report the accident to the police within 24 hours of the accident, and you may have to do it in writing. Usually, it’s easier and safer to call the police at the scene and give a report to them in person.
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Why Do People Flee Accidents?
Police put a lot of effort toward finding hit and run drivers because, in many cases, the driver is hiding another crime by fleeing. For instance, they could be intoxicated or driving on a suspended or revoked license.
This is all the more reason to hire a hit and run charges lawyer in Richmond. The police will search for any crime they think you might have tried to hide by fleeing the accident. You may have had good reason to leave, but they don’t know that.
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What Kinds of Hit and Run Are There in Richmond?
There are both felony and misdemeanor hit and run charges in Virginia law. If no one was injured and the amount of property damage was less than $1000, then the charge is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor. You could face up to 12 months in jail and $2500 fine.
If there is an injury, death, or the property value is more than $1000, then you could face a Class 5 felony. This is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, plus the additional stigma and loss of rights for being a felon.
If the property damage is less than $250, you’ll face a lesser Class 4 misdemeanor. While this is only punishable by a fine, it will still leave you with a criminal record and you should still get a hit and run lawyer in Richmond to help you with it.
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Why Would a Passenger Get Charged?
If the state believes that you were an accomplice to a hit and run case, you can get charged for it as a passenger. This could happen if you helped drive the car away from the scene or the accident or encouraged the driver to leave.
In these cases, the passenger is charged the same as the driver, except in the case of a felony. Being an accomplice to felony hit and run in Virginia is a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
What if I Make Amends Later?
Making amends with the victim after the fact will not remove the charge of hit and run on its own. Remember, hit and run is not about the injury or damage, but about not reporting it properly to the people involved and the police.
However, it could help reduce the penalties if you can prove you made amends. A Richmond hit and run charges lawyer can help you with this so you can document it for the court.
Get Your Legal Defense Started
Pendleton Law Group is ready to be your legal shield. We have criminal defense lawyers in Richmond ready to help you against hit and run charges. For a consultation, contact us at the number on your screen or use our contact form.
Remember, the sooner you act, the sooner we can get started on your case. Call us as soon as possible after your arrest.
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