A hit-and-run occurs when a person is involved in an automobile accident and does not remain at the scene, exchange information, leave a note, or perform any of the protocol that a person is supposed to perform following an accident. Instead, if the individual flees the scene then they have completed the crime of a hit-and-run.
Due to the potential severity of this offense, it is important that anyone accused consults with an Alexandria hit-and-run lawyer as soon as possible to begin building a defense. An experienced defense attorney will discuss what happened from your perspective and determine the strongest course of action to take to mitigate the damage.
The common actions that lead to hit-and-run are when a person has an accident and does not stop, does not exchange information, and does not do anything to try to help the other driver in that accident. They do not attempt to know who the others in the accident are and who to contact in terms of their insurance. Hit-and-runs happen often with bumpers in a parking lot.
These charges are taken seriously in Virginia, because if a person is the victim of a hit-and-run and the accident was not their fault, those people will often end up having to pay for the damages out of pocket. Judges do not like when this happens, so hit-and-run charges are taken seriously. A hit-and-run attorney in Alexandria will be essential in building a defense for those accused.
A hit-and-run is a serious traffic misdemeanor and can be considered a felony, depending on the amount of damage involved or if anyone was injured. The penalties vary widely, depending upon three variables: whether or not anyone was injured, the dollar amount of the damage, and whether or not the vehicle was considered attended property or unattended property.
A vehicle is considered attended property when a person is in the car. Unattended property is what often happens in parking lot cases where somebody is backing out, hits another vehicle, and nobody is in the car, so they fled the scene instead of leaving a note.
Hit-and-run refers to a criminal case, but there may also be a civil case placed for negligence. If a person is found to be liable for damages resulting from an accident, and during the course of that trial or hearing they testify and acknowledge that they were there, those circumstances could affect their criminal trial. A person would have an admission under oath made by the defendant in the criminal case that they were, in fact, the ones that were driving the car. That could hurt them, but under most circumstances, a civil claim for damages is not going to affect the criminal case.
For most traffic charges, the person is pulled over by a police officer and the police officer conducts their investigation and comes to the decision that a person needs to be charged. In a hit-and-run, often the investigation comes after it has been reported by the other driver, and they have to find the person who is being charged. A lot of times, this can prove to be frustrating for law enforcement. They might not know who the actual driver was, might not have license plate information, or might have incorrect license plate information.
There could be a myriad of reasons why investigations can become difficult for law enforcement in cases that involve allegations of hit-and-run, and they require investigation on the part of the officers who intend to bring the charge. In this regard, an Alexandria hit-and-run attorney is beneficial as they can help build a defense and potentially determine whether there is a case of mistaken identity.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law