I was driving on a suspended license my friend said he was driving. He got a DUI. I left the scene of the accident. If I say I drove. What will happen

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I was driving on a suspended license my friend said he was driving. He got a DUI. I left the scene of the accident. If I say I drove. What will happen

Asked on May 30, 2009 under Accident Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You are both in trouble.  First off your friend lied to the police and as a result a false police report was filed.  This is deemed a Class1 misdemeanor.  Under Virginia law, depending on what you are charged with, he could also face charges as an accessory-after-the-fact, which is also a Class 1 misdemeanor.  Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable by up to 1 year in county jail and up to a $2,500 fine.

As for you, where to begin?  You drove on a suspended license which, assuming that this is your first offense, is punishable up to 12 months in jail, up to a $2,500 fine, and another license suspension.  If it's not your first offense all the penalties are enhanced.  

As for leaving the scene of an accident -  if someone was injured or there was property damage in excess of $1,000 then it a Class 5 felony; if there was no injuries or the property damage was $1,000 or less than it is a Class 1 misdemeanor.  A Class 5 felony is punishable by up to ten years incarceration - for up to 12 months time to be served in county jail, for 1 year up to 10 years time to be served in a Virginia Department of Corrections prison facility.  There is also a fine up to $2,500.  If the offense is treated as a Class 1 misdemeanor, as I outlined above, it is punishable by up to 12 months in county jail and up to a $2,500 fine.

Remember, there may well be other criminal charges to be filed pursuant to Virginia law not to mention your civil liability for any injury and/or property damage. 

You are facing potentially serious charges here.  You need to speak with a criminal attorney ASAP.  You've created a mess and he'll advise you on how best to sort all of this out.  Don't say anything to the police without having a lawyer present with you.


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