West Virginia has strict laws against leaving the scene of a car accident. You could face misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on whether anybody was hurt or injured in the crash. Additionally, certain penalties could prevent you from getting a job, securing housing, and applying to schools.
Our firm advocates for hit-and-run accident defendants. You always have the option of representing yourself, but doing so could mean adverse things for your future.
You’re Required to Do These Things After an Accident in West Virginia
After being involved in a car accident (no matter how severe), you’re required to do the following under WV Code § 17C-4-2:
- Pull over to the side of the road without obstructing traffic.
- Render aid until the paramedics or law enforcement arrives.
- Give your name, insurance information, and other related details.
- File an accident report.
What Happens If You Fail to Complete the Above Tasks?
You could face criminal charges if you fled the scene of an accident. The severity of your offense depends on whether anybody was hurt, passed away, or property damage passed a certain threshold.
Criminal charges can vary between misdemeanor and felony charges. For instance, per WV Code § 17C-4-5, you could face a fine of up to $150 if you struck a “highway fixture.” However, if your collision fatally injured someone, you could face a vehicular homicide charge. This can result in prison time, fines, community service, and license suspension.
Your Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Goal in Your Hit-and-Run Case
In the best possible situation, we can convince the judge and jury to drop or dismiss your charges. This means that after evaluating your situation, the case against you wasn’t feasible.
However, we can also aim to have your charges reduced. So, if you were charged with vehicular homicide, WV Code § 17C-5-1 notes that you could face a year in prison, a fine between $100 and $1,000, and the loss of your license.
Our criminal defense team can argue that you were not criminally negligent. If successful, we could aim for a lower charge (like aggressive driving) that would come with lesser penalties.
What Defense Strategies Could Benefit You?
Take a look at some of the defense strategies we may use:
You didn’t Know You were Required to Stop at a West Virginia Accident Scene
If you’ve only been driving for a short period, you may not fully understand West Virginia’s driving laws. We can use your lack of experience (as well as other information) to support your rights. The court may ask you to complete a driver’s re-education course or pay a fine.
You Were Severely Injured
Not all injuries manifest physical symptoms. This is especially true for traumatic brain injuries. If you suffered this condition, within moments, you could have experienced a lack of coordination, impaired judgment, and blurred vision – preventing you from pulling over at the collision scene.
We can use your medical records, information from your doctor, and other medically-relevant information to build this defense.
You didn’t Know About the Accident
You might not have known about the accident. This could have happened if:
- The force of impact did not raise any “red flags.”
- You did not see the other vehicle you struck.
- Dense traffic prevented you from realizing an accident.
- You were driving a large vehicle (like an 18-wheeler truck) and did not “feel” the accident.
- You suffer from a cognitive impairment that prevents you from recognizing certain elements and responding appropriately.
You Stopped at the Accident But didn’t Give Your Information
It’s not enough to pull over at an accident scene; you also have to give various pieces of information. However, the other driver might not have recognized their injuries. Perhaps the damage was so minor it didn’t merit documentation.
Still, law enforcement may have pressed charged. We can argue that you did pull over but did not give your information because of certain elements.
How Can Our West Virginia Law Firm Help You?
Our team wants to secure the best possible outcome in your criminal case. After evaluating your situation, we can provide legal help by:
- Determining the cause of the accident
- Interviewing eyewitnesses, those close to you, and specialists
- Examining the details of the collision
- Negotiating for reduced charges
- Evaluating whether your rights were violated
- Cross-examining the other party’s witnesses
- Abiding by all necessary legal protocol
- Investigating the incident itself
- Determining whether your rights were violated
- Examining the details of your charges, previous convictions, and arrest
We know that not all criminal cases come with a one-size-fits-all solution. Every situation comes with its own story. We will provide legal services that address your situation.
Call Underwood Law Office for More Information About Your Legal Rights
Our trial-ready lawyers are ready to advocate for you. Explore your legal options now by dialing (304) 522-0508. We offer case reviews to prospective clients interested in learning about our team and their rights.