If you are involved in a car accident in Virginia, you have a legal duty to stop and provide your information to the other parties. You also have to report the accident to the police if there is any injury, death or property damage over $1,500.
If you decide to flee, and are later caught, you could face charges related to leaving the scene of an accident. This is known as a hit and run.
Leaving the scene of an accident
Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offense that can have severe consequences for your driving record, your insurance rates and your criminal record. Depending on the circumstances of the car crash, you could face a misdemeanor or a felony charge, with penalties ranging from fines and points on your license to jail time and suspension of your driving privileges.
Consequences of a charge
The consequences of a charge of leaving the scene of an accident in Virginia depend on several factors. One factor includes the extent of the damage or injury caused by the accident and whether you were the driver or a passenger of the vehicle that left the scene. Another factor is whether you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident and whether you have any prior convictions for similar offenses.
If someone leaves the scene of a car accident that only causes property damage under $1,500, this person could face a Class 4 misdemeanor charge. This carries a fine of up to $250 and three points on the driver’s license.
If another person leaves the scene of an accident that causes property damage over $1,500 or injury to another person, they could face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. This charge carries a fine of up to $2,500 and up to 12 months in jail, as well as six points on the driver’s license. You could also lose your license for half a year.
As our Virginia readers can see, leaving the scene of an accident in our state is not something to take lightly. It can have serious and lasting consequences for your personal and professional life.