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Leaving the Scene of An Accident - “Hit and Run”

In Virginia, leaving the scene of an accident, or "hit and run", is a serious criminal offense that typically arises out of your failure to stop, render aid or report your accident.  Regardless of the cause of your accident, Virginia law imposes reporting duties on both drivers and passengers where it is known that an accident occurred.

Both the duties and penalties for leaving the scene of an accident vary depending upon whether you were a driver or a passenger, whether the accident involves an attended or unattended vehicle, and whether the accident involves property damage of a certain amount or a resulting injury or death.  Depending upon your circumstances, your hit and run may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.

Hit & Run Driver

 

Offense Class

Attended or Unattended
Vehicle or Property

 

Property Damage/Injury

 

Class 5 Felony

 

Attended


Injury, death, or
> $1,000 property damage

 

Class 1 Misdemeanor

 

Attended

 $1,000 Property Damage

 

Class 1 Misdemeanor

 

Unattended

 

 $250 Property Damage

 

Class 4 Misdemeanor

 

Unattended

 

< $250 Property Damage

 

 

Hit & Run Passenger

 

Offense Class

Attended or Unattended
Vehicle or Property

 

Property Damage/Injury

 

Class 6 Felony

 

Attended

 

Injury or death

 

Class 1 Misdemeanor

 

Attended

 

Property Damage

 

Class 1 Misdemeanor

 

Unattended

 

 $250 Property Damage

 

Class 4 Misdemeanor

 

Unattended

 

< $250 Property Damage

 

Driver of Hit & Run with Attended Vehicle

Accounting to Virginia Code 46.2-894, if you hit an attended vehicle or other attended property, as the driver, you must: 

1. Immediately stop as close to the scene as possible without obstructing traffic;

2. Report your name, address, driver's license number, and vehicle registration number immediately to the State Police or local law enforcement agency, the person injuried (if capable of understanding and retaining the information), the driver or some other occupant of the vehicle collided with or the custodian of the damaged property; and,

3. Render reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident, including taking the injured person to physician, doctor or hospital, if it appears medically necessary or is requested by the injured person.  

If your injuries prevent compliance with the above requirements, you must, as soon as is reasonably possible, make the required report to police and locate the driver, some other occupant or the custodian of such damaged vehicle, and report your name, address, driver's license number, and vehicle registration number.

If convicted, localities may seek repayment of expenses incurred by responding law enforcement, firefighting, rescue and emergency services.  (See Virginia Code §15.2-1716.).

Passenger :   If you were a passenger, at least 16 years of age, in the vehicle at the time of the accident and the driver fails to stop and make the required report, you must ensure that a report is made to police within 24 hours of the accident. Your report must include the driver's name and address, along with the information required to be reported by the driver as outlined above.

Driver of Hit & Run with Unattended Vehicle

According to Virginia Code 46.2-896, if you hit an unattended vehicle or some other unattended property causing property damage only, as the driver, you must:

1. Make a reasonable effort to find the owner or custodian of the property; 

a. If such owner is found: 

i. You must report your name, address, driver's license number, and vehicle registration number.  

b. If such owner cannot be found: 

i. You must leave a note or other sufficient information (your name, address, driver's license number, and vehicle registration number) including driver identification and contact in a conspicuous place at the scene of the accident; and

ii. Within 24 hours, you must report the accident in writing to police as follows:

1. Your name, address, driver's license number, and vehicle registration number;

2. Date, time, and place of accident and your description of the property damage.

 

If your injuries prevent compliance with the above requirements, you must, as soon as is reasonably possible, make the required report to police and locate the owner or custodian of such damaged vehicle, and report your name, address, driver's license number, and vehicle registration number.

 

Passenger :   If you were a passenger, at least 16 years of age, in the vehicle at the time of the accident and the driver fails to stop and make a reasonable search for the owner or custodian of the unattended vehicle or property, or to leave a note as is required above, you must ensure that a report is made to police within 24 hours of the accident. The report must include the driver's name and address, along with the information required to be reported by the driver as outlined above.

 Driver Involved in Accident Resulting in Injury or Death
Notwithstanding the driver duties outlined above, accordning to Virginia Code 46.2-371, the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person, or some person acting for him, shall immediately give notice of the accident to a law enforcement officer.  A willful failure to make the required report is a Class 4 Misdemeanor.

License Implications

If you are convicted as either a driver or a passenger in a hit and run accident, of an attended or unattended vehicle, resulting in property damage exceeding $500, the court may suspend your driver's license up to 6 months. (Virginia Code §46.2-901). That said, if you are convicted as a driver (not the passenger) of a vehicle in an accident causing injury or death to another and you failed to stop and disclose your identity at the scene of the accident, the DMV will suspend your driver's license for one year.  (Virginia Code §46.2-389).  If you are convicted four times for hit and run of an attended vehicle, either as a driver or passenger, or for racing, the court shall revoke your driver's license for 5 years. (Virginia Code §46.2-394).

If you've been charged with leaving the scene of accident or "hit and run", don't make the common mistake of trying to go it without an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney.  You need an aggressive and knowledgeable Virginia attorney who will fight for your rights and, where appropriate, negotiate a favorable outcome. Let us be your legal advocate.

If saving your driver's license, limiting fines, and avoiding or minimizing a jail sentence are important to you, call The Wilson Law Firm at 703-361-6100 or toll free at 1-888-384-5997 for a free, no obligation consultation. 

§ 46.2-894. Duty of driver to stop in event of accident involving injury or death or damage to attended property.

The driver of any vehicle involved in an 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, as provided in § 46.2-888, 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. The driver shall also render 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.

Where, because of injuries sustained in the accident, the driver is prevented from complying with the foregoing provisions of this section, the driver shall, as soon as reasonably possible, make the required report to the State Police or local law-enforcement agency and make a reasonable effort to locate the person struck, or the driver or some other occupant of the vehicle collided with, or the custodian of the damaged property, and report to such person or persons his name, address, driver's license number, and vehicle registration number.

Any person convicted of a violation of this section is guilty of (i) a Class 5 felony if the accident results in injury to or the death of any person, or if the accident results in more than $1000 of damage to property or (ii) a Class 1 misdemeanor if the accident results in damage of $1000 or less to property.

§ 46.2-895. Duty of certain persons accompanying driver to report accidents involving injury, death, or damage to attended property.

If the driver fails to stop and make the report required by § 46.2-894, every person sixteen years of age or older in the vehicle with the driver at the time of the accident, who has knowledge of the accident, shall have a duty to ensure that a report is made within twenty-four hours from the time of the accident to the State Police or, if the accident occurs in a city or town, to the local law-enforcement agency. The report shall include his name, address, and such other information within his knowledge as the driver is required to report pursuant to § 46.2-894.

§ 46.2-896. Duties of driver in event of accident involving damage only to unattended property.

The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident in which no person is killed or injured, but in which an unattended vehicle or other unattended property is damaged, shall make a reasonable effort to find the owner or custodian of such property and shall report to the owner or custodian the information which the driver is required to report pursuant to § 46.2-894 if such owner or custodian is found. If the owner or custodian of such damaged vehicle or property cannot be found, the driver shall 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. Such note or other information and written report shall contain the information that the driver is required to report pursuant to § 46.2-894. The written report shall, in addition, state the date, time, and place of the accident and the driver's description of the property damage.

Where, because of injuries sustained in the accident, the driver is prevented from complying with the foregoing provisions of this section, the driver shall, as soon as reasonably possible, make the required report to the State Police or local law-enforcement agency and make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or custodian of the unattended vehicle or property and report to him the information required by § 46.2-894.

§ 46.2-897. Duty of certain persons accompanying driver to report accidents involving damage only to unattended property.

If the driver fails to stop and make a reasonable search for the owner or custodian of an unattended vehicle or property or to leave a note for such owner or custodian as required by § 46.2-896, every person sixteen years of age or older in the vehicle with the driver at the time of the accident who has knowledge of the accident shall have a duty to ensure that a report is made within twenty-four hours from the time of the accident to the State Police or, if the accident occurs in a city or town, to the local law-enforcement agency. The report shall include his name, address, and such other facts within his knowledge as are required by § 46.2-896 to be reported by the driver.

§ 46.2-900. Penalty for violation of §§ 46.2-895 through 46.2-897.

Any person convicted of violating the provisions of §§ 46.2-895 through 46.2-897 shall, if such accident results in injury to or the death of any person, be guilty of a Class 6 felony. If such accident results only in damage to property, the person so convicted shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor; however, if the vehicle or other property struck is unattended and such damage is less than $250, such person shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. A motor vehicle operator convicted of a Class 4 misdemeanor under this section shall be assigned three demerit points by the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles.


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The Wilson Law Firm
9300 Grant Ave, Suite 301
Manassas, VA 20110-5073
Phone: (703) 361-6100
(540) 347-4944
Fax: (703) 365-7988
Toll Free: (888) DUI-LWYR
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The Wilson Law Firm
9300 Grant Ave, Suite 301
Manassas, VA 20110-5073

Phone: (703) 361-6100
(540) 347-4944
   
Fax: (703) 365-7988

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