In Florida, no matter the circumstances, if you find yourself involved in an accident, it is a legal obligation to stop at the scene. This legal obligation is necessary in order to exchange insurance details with others, as well as to render appropriate assistance for any injury or damage caused. Failure to stop at the scene of an accident is a criminal offense and may result in serious consequences, including large fines and a length of time behind bars.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident that has resulted in serious bodily injury, then it is strongly advised to seek representation from a skilled personal injury lawyer. At The Law Place, we have a team of lawyers with an abundance of experience in defending the accused. Contact us to arrange a free consultation with criminal defense attorney. Our Bradenton phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you can rest assured that a traffic defense attorney will be on hand to offer support and valuable legal advice whenever you need it most. What are you waiting for? Call us today at (941) 444-4444.
How Is Leaving the Scene of an Accident Defined Under Florida Law?
In Florida, leaving the scene of an accident is also known as a hit and run. According to Florida Statute 316.062, any driver who is involved in a car accident is required by law to stop at the scene.
Florida Statute 316.027 highlights that the person’s statutory duties are as follows:
- Following an accident, the driver must stop their vehicle as close to the scene as is safe to do so.
- Drivers must remain at the scene of the accident and offer reasonable assistance to those that require it.
- Drivers must report the accident to law enforcement.
- Any driver involved in an accident must give all required information to other drivers at the scene as well as investigating officers. This information includes their full name, contact details, vehicle registration, and license information.
If the driver cannot find the person that owned the property that was damaged in the crash, then they are still required to contact a law enforcement agency and make them aware of the property damage situation. They should also leave a note. Again, failure to do so would be considered a criminal offense.
What Are the Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Serious Bodily Injury in Bradenton?
Penalties for a hit and run will vary greatly depending on the severity of injury and damage sustained in the accident. As a result, the type of charge, the amount payable in fines, and the length of your prison sentence will differ depending on the case.
Accidents Involving Property Damage
If you are caught leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in property damage, then you will face a second-degree misdemeanor charge. A second-degree misdemeanor charge is punishable by 60 days in jail, up to $500 payable in fines, as well as an additional 6 months spent under probation.
Accidents Involving Injury
If a driver is caught leaving the scene of an accident that has resulted in the injury of another person, then they will be charged with a third-degree felony. A felony charge is much more serious, and the criminal record that you receive as a result of the criminal offense will remain on your record for life.
A third-degree felony charge can result in up to fines of up to $5,000, up to five years behind bars, and an additional five years spent under probation.
Accidents Involving Serious Bodily Injury
A serious bodily injury is defined as an injury that poses a substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, disfigurement, or the disabling of any part of the body. If you are charged with leaving the scene of a crash that resulted in such injury, then you will face a second-degree felony charge. A successful conviction for this crime could include a jail sentence of up to 15 years, an additional 15 years of probation following a jail sentence, as well as fines of up to $10,000.
Accidents Involving Death
Leaving the scene of an accident that involved the death of another person will result in the most serious punishments. This type of crime is a first-degree felony and can result in fines of up to $10,000. It is also likely that you will receive a prison sentence of up to 30 years, as well as an additional 30 years on probation following the prison sentence.
Consequences of Receiving a Criminal Record
If you are unfortunate enough to be convicted for leaving the scene of an accident, then it is likely that you will receive a criminal record. Whilst a criminal record may sound like a minor punishment in comparison to jail time and hefty fines, a criminal record can have life-changing consequences for you and your loved ones. A criminal record can drastically impact your ability to gain employment or educational opportunities or receive financial loans or mortgages from banks. In addition, it can also affect your ability to gain child custody. Therefore, if you have been accused of leaving the scene of an accident, it is vital to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Call our offices in Florida today to speak to a defense attorney and get started with your case.
Possible Defences for Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Injury in Bradenton
If you have been accused or charged with leaving the scene of an accident, then it is strongly recommended to seek the advice of a knowledgeable traffic defense lawyer. A traffic defense attorney will assess the circumstances surrounding your case and will work to build a strong defense strategy that can stand up in court. A strong defense strategy may see your charges reduced or even eliminated. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, your attorney may put forward any number of the following defenses:
- There was an apparent lack of knowledge about your role in the accident.
- There has been a case of mistaken identity, and you were not the driver who left the scene of the accident.
- You were unaware that the accident was serious and, therefore, were not aware that you were required to stop.
- Your own injuries prevented you from rending aid or reporting the accident.
- It was not safe to stop at the scene of the accident.
- You did not leave the accident willingly, but there were certain circumstances that meant you were unable to remain at the scene.
- The other driver involved refused to take your information or forced you to leave the scene of the accident.
- You offered reasonable assistance as defined within the terms of the statute.
Contact The Law Place in Bradenton Today!
If you have been accused or charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, then it is important to seek legal representation from an adept criminal defense attorney. At The Law Place in Bradenton, we have a team of highly skilled attorneys with over 75 years of combined experience in defending the accused. At our law firm, many of our attorneys are AVVO rated 10.0, which is the highest possible rating, so you can rest assured that your case will be in knowledgeable and competent hands.
At our law firm, we offer all our customers a free case evaluation, where we will assess your case and offer valuable legal advice and guidance at no obligation. Call our offices in Bradenton to schedule your free consultation. Our phone lines are open around the clock, so you can call us at a time that suits you best. Call us today at (941) 444-4444.