Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax VA
Hit & Run Charge in Virginia
If you are reading this article, it is likely that you or a loved one have been charged with Hit and Run. This charge can be a minor one that does not require a lawyer, or something much more serious and thus requiring a Hit and Run or Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax VA trusts, or it can be a very serious charge which absolutely requires the assistance of an experienced Traffic lawyer.
Hit and Run is a commonly used term, but the real description of the charge is “Duty of Driver to Stop in the Event of an Accident.” Depending on the facts, the charge can range from a minor Class 4 Misdemeanor, carrying just a minor fine and -3 DMV Demerit points, to a Class 5 Felony carrying with it the possibility of up to 10 years in prison and a $2500 fine. All types of Hit and Run charges for property damage greater than $250 or injury can result in up to a 6-month license suspension.
The offense of Hit and Run can basically be described as when a driver (the Defendant) drives his car into another car, person or property, and fails to stop and give identifying information. Depending upon the subsequent actions of the Defendant and the amount of injury or damage, the penalties increase.
For unattended property, the Defendant needs to stop and “… make a reasonable effort to find the owner or custodian of such property, and if he can be found, the Defendant must report to the owner or custodian certain information. If the owner or custodian cannot be found, then the Defendant must “… leave a note or other sufficient information including driver identification and contact information in a conspicuous place at the scene of the accident and shall report the accident in writing within 24 hours to the State Police or the local law-enforcement agency.” The information required is “…name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number.” If the damage is less than $250 and the Defendant failed to give the required information, then the charge is just a Class 4 Misdemeanor (this is the smallest Misdemeanor in existence and a minor fine). Most people will not want to hire a Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax VA, for such a minor infraction. However, if the damage is greater than $500, the charge is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and (the same level of crime as Reckless Driving or DUI) and may result in up to a 6-month loss of license. At this point, most people will want to hire a Hit and Run lawyer.
For attended property or where a person is injured, the stakes are much higher. In that situation, the Defendant needs to provide the same information as stated above, and “… shall immediately stop as close to the scene of the accident as possible without obstructing traffic, … and report his name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number forthwith to the State Police or local law-enforcement agency, to the person struck and injured if such person appears to be capable of understanding and retaining the information, or to the driver or some other occupant of the vehicle collided with or to the custodian of other damaged property.” Besides providing the information, the law requires the Defendant to be a good citizen, by rendering “…reasonable assistance to any person injured in such accident, including taking such injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital if it is apparent that medical treatment is necessary or is requested by the injured person.” The penalties are where this charge gets scary. The law states that if there is injury or death or even no injury, but property damage over $1000, the charge is a Class 5 Felony (0-10 years in prison with up to a $2500 fine). If it is just property damage less than $1000, then it is a Class 1 Misdemeanor (up to one year in jail and up to a $2500 fine). Obviously, with jail / prison on the line and possibly a criminal record, hiring a Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax VA trusts like David Bate is smart.
The license suspension on this charge is especially harsh since no restricted privileges are allowed. The Code states that any person convicted of the Hit and Run, and if it resulted in property damage either more exceeded $500 or personal injury, then a license suspension of up to six months.” This is harsher than even a DUI, because with a DUI, you can drive for work, medical care, child care, etc. But with a Hit and Run, you have to walk for six months. So, if you need to drive, then you want to hire a Hit and Run or Reckless Driving Lawyer Arlington VA.