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Recent Virginia Cases Demonstrate Severity of Hit-and-Run Accidents and Charges that Follow

by J.D. Garrett on September 12, 2013

Hit and Run attorneyNearly everyone has experienced the panicky feeling of losing control of a vehicle. Whether due to the weather, a faulty mechanical part, or a simple mistake, losing control of a car can lead to the destruction of property, injury of persons or animals, and, sometimes, death. A car accident can be made even worse with the issuance of a traffic ticket, and, in some cases, misdemeanor or felony charges. In the case of a hit-and-run accident, major penalties and consequences may result from such a criminal charge.

Virginia Incident

Hit-and-run accidents are, unfortunately, not few and far between in Virginia. Last month, in mid-August, a 17-year-old boy was killed after being hit by a driver who fled the scene. As discussed in a recent article, the young man was walking on the shoulder of Interstate 66 in the very early hours of the morning in Fairfax, Virginia, when he was hit by a car. While police officers believe that the teen may have been committing suicide, they are still investigating the incident. If the driver is found, he or she may be charged under Virginia law in connection with the hit-and-run.

A Richmond, a 2012 Virginia hit-and-run accident drew to a close in February of this year when a judge sentenced a hit-and-run driver to three years in prison. WRIC.com reports that Elias Webb had faced a maximum of ten years in prison after he was found guilty of felony hit-and-run charges in connection with an accident that left 24-year-old Lanie Kruszewski dead. Ms. Kruszewski had been riding a bicycle on the evening that Mr. Webb hit and killed her. Mr. Webb stated that he thought he had hit a deer with his car, but after reading the news the morning after, thought that he may have been the person that hit Ms. Kruszewski. He ultimately turned himself into police. Mr. Webb was found guilty by a jury in February of this year, and the judge sentenced him to the same sentence recommended by the jury.

Virginia Law

Under Virginia law 46.2-894 a driver has a duty to immediately stop as close to the scene of the accident as possible, when he or she hits an attended vehicle, attended property, or a person. The driver also has the duty to report his or her name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number to the State Police or local law enforcement. The driver must also give this information to the driver or occupant of the other vehicle, or person injured, or the custodian of the property. The driver is also required to render medical assistance to the injured person, such as taking that person to the hospital. If a driver fails to comply with those duties, he or she may face a Class 5 felony conviction if the accident results in death or injury to the person that he or she hit, or if the accident caused more than $1,000 in damage to property. If the accident resulted in $1,000 or less in damage to property, then the driver may face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge.

Aside from the law discussed here, there are several other laws under the Code of Virginia that pertain to required conduct in a hit-and-run situation, and drivers should be aware of each of these provisions. If you were involved in a hit-and-run accident, you should immediately seek out the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A hit-and-run conviction may bring severe penalties and consequences, and you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible for the best chances of a successful defense. Contact Garrett Law Group, PLC, today for a confidential consultation.

About

J.D. Garrett is a criminal law attorney in the Virginia Beach office of Garrett Law Group, PLC. He has years of experience representing clients in the courts of Virginia Beach, Norfolk and surrounding areas.

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