Q: Can a passenger be charged with a hit and run in Virginia? Do I need a Fairfax criminal defense attorney if I was a passenger in a car and an accident wasn’t reported?
Yes. Virginia statutes allow the police to charge a passenger with the crime of failing to report an accident in certain cases. Specifically, a passenger in a vehicle may be charged with a hit and run if:
- The driver fails to stop and make the accident report.
- The passenger is 16 year old or older.
- The passenger knew about the accident.
- Injury, death, or property damage was caused by the accident.
The statute provides a passenger with 24 hours to report the accident to state police or local law enforcement officials as appropriate.
The consequences of a passenger failing to report a Virginia hit and run range from a felony to a misdemeanor, depending on whether there were any injuries or fatalities as a result of the accident and the extent of the property damage. Accordingly, a passenger could face jail time, significant fines, and a criminal record if convicted of failing to report a Virginia accident.
If you were a passenger in a car and neither the driver nor you reported an accident, it is important that you contact a Fairfax hit and run defense lawyer for help. Your lawyer will investigate what happened, advise you of your legal rights, and make sure that your rights are protected. For more information, please contact an experienced Fairfax hit and run lawyer at (703) 385-5529.