Q: My teenage son panicked and left the scene of a traffic accident in Fredericksburg, but turned himself in voluntarily a few days later. Will this help his case in court?

A: Long story short: It's not as helpful as if he had stayed at the scene of the accident (as the law requires) and allowed himself to be interviewed by the police, but it's not as bad as if he had attempted to evade responsibility entirely and put the onus on the authorities to come after him. If his case comes to court, the judge will be aware that he turned himself in voluntarily, and your son's lawyer can attempt to negotiate with the district attorney for a less severe penalty or a reduction of the charges.

Of course, the outcome won't depend only on the (eventual) honorable conduct of your son, but on the circumstances of the accident. If your son was going 80 mph on a road with a 40 mph speed limit, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent, and killed a pedestrian, there's not a lawyer in the world who will be able to keep him out of trouble. On the other hand, if your son was involved in a relatively minor fender-bender that caused less than $1,000 in damage, he may well get off with only a stiff fine and restitution.

In this case, too, your son's age may work in his favor. In the eyes of the court, an older adult, with years of driving experience under his belt, should know better than to leave the scene of an accident, but the same may not necessarily be true of a scared, confused, and inexperienced 18-year-old driver.

Have questions? Speak with a Virginia hit-and-run accident attorney at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC. Call 888-783-9701 today for a free consultation.