Although car accidents are typically considered civil incidents, criminal charges arising from car accidents are not unheard of. If you are facing a criminal charge that has stemmed from a car accident, it’s important to consult a Roanoke criminal traffic defense attorney at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico immediately.
We will ensure your rights are protected and design a defense strategy that may improve your current situation. Call us at (540) 343-9349 to schedule a free, initial consultation.
Hit and Run
A hit and run occurs when someone is involved in a car accident causing damage to another’s property and fails to stop and/or flees the scene. Even if the accident is minor, drivers are required to stop at the scene immediately after an accident has taken place. After checking on the well-being of all those involved, everyone must exchange information such as name, phone number, and insurance details.
The specific charges you will face in a hit and run accident will depend on its outcome. If you hit and run and cause significant injuries or death, you can expect severe penalties and a permanent criminal record.
Driving Under the Influence
A DUI or driving under the influence offense is one of the most common criminal charges that derive from car accidents. If you are caught operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content level above .08 percent, you may be charged with a DUI.
DUIs are criminal offenses that lead to significant fines and fees, jail time, ignition interlock devices, and increased insurance premiums. Penalties for DUIs increase with each repeat offense.
Reckless driving can also be considered a criminal offense. It occurs when a driver disregards road regulations and/or misjudges common driving procedures and prompts accidents and other damages as a result.
Speeding excessively, failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, driving aggressively, passing a stopped school bus, and racing a vehicle can all lead to serious reckless driving charges. In Virginia, reckless driving is a misdemeanor that punishes offenders with up to 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine, and a possible driver’s license suspension.
Single Car/No Damage Accidents
It is important to remember that in Virginia, if someone is involved in a car wreck and does not damage anyone’s property as a result, the accident does not have to be reported to the police. However, people often find themselves in difficult legal predicaments after these types of accidents because it is the policy of the Virginia State Police to charge someone with reckless driving if there is $1,500 in damage or physical injury. So, if you slide on black ice and crash, if the police arrive you will potentially be charged with a crime even if nothing except your own vehicle is damaged. However, with help from a capable defense lawyer, this type of charge can be fought and even dismissed. If you do not have an attorney, even if the charge is reduced to improper driving, you will still need to contend with an a largely unnecessary blemish on your driving record and any number of possible consequences.
How Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico Can Help
In Virginia, car accidents can lead to criminal charges that can negatively impact your relationships, reputation, career, and future. Therefore, it’s essential to speak to a Roanoke traffic attorney at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico who can evaluate your situation and build a strong defense strategy to reduce the severity of your consequences or even get your case dismissed.