What To Do If You Hit Unattended Property in Virginia?

In Virginia, the law says that if you hit unattended property in your vehicle, you have 24 hours to report the accident to law enforcement.

If you don’t do that, you’re guilty of leaving the scene of an accident or hit and run.

However, what you also have to do is leave your information at the scene of the accident.

If, for example, you’re driving home late one night and you run over the neighbor’s mailbox, are you allowed to just go to bed and call the police in the morning? No.

Virginia law says that you first have to leave a note at the scene of the accident, and not only that, but you have to make an effort to find the actual owner of the property right then.

You can’t just leave a note on the neighbor’s mailbox and then talk about it in the morning. You’re supposed to make an effort to locate the neighbor at the time of the accident.

Instead of just simply going to bed thinking that you’ll take care of it in the morning, you need to seek out the owner of the property at the time of the accident.

If you cannot locate the owner, you leave a note with all of your pertinent information on it at the location of the accident.

Then you’re allowed to report the accident within 24 hours. At that point, you could go to sleep and take care of your reporting requirements in the morning.

However, if you don’t seek out the owner and leave a note, you will be charged with failing to report an accident (hit and run) in Virginia.

In sum, if you hit unattended property, you must:

  1. Stop at the scene.
  2. Look for the owner.
  3. If the owner can’t be found, leave a note at the scene with your info on it.
  4. Report the accident to the police within 24 hours.


If you hit unattended property in Virginia, and are facing hit and run charges, call me at 540.684.3237,or use our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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