Leaving the scene of an accident, more commonly known as a ‘hit and run’, is considered to be a serious criminal offense in Fort Myers and the State of Florida. As highlighted by Florida law, anyone involved in an accident is legally required to remain at the scene of an accident. Any person who fails to stop at the scene of an accident, even unintentionally, could find themselves facing serious penalties and punishments. Such penalties could include hefty fines, jail time, and potentially even a license suspension or revocation.
If you have been accused of leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury, then it is essential to seek legal representation from a reputable law firm as soon as you possibly can. At The Law Place, we have a team of highly skilled criminal defense lawyers with over 75 years of combined experience in handling cases similar to yours. We offer all our customers a free initial consultation, where we will assess the legitimacy of your case and provide practical legal advice on the next best steps to take. Our Fort Myers phone lines are open throughout the day, so feel free to call at a time most convenient for you. Call us today to get started with your case.
Defining Leaving the Scene of an Accident In Florida
Any person involved in a traffic collision is required by law to act with a duty of care and stop at the scene of the accident.
As highlighted in Florida Statute 316.027, if you are involved in a road collision, then you are required to:
- Stop their vehicle immediately, or if in a hazardous location, then at the next safe area.
- Provide contact details to the other parties involved, including your name, address, vehicle registration, driver’s license information, and insurance details.
- Notify the police or law enforcement of the accident.
- If medical assistance is required for anyone involved in the accident, then those that are well to do so should provide assistance where possible and take the injured to a medical facility so that they can receive the necessary treatment from a medical specialist. If it is not safe to drive the injured party to the medical facility, then it is vital that you call for medical assistance as soon as you possibly can.
If a person fails to carry out these duties following a traffic collision that they are in breach of their duty of care and are therefore breaking the law. It may be surprising to hear that, in recent years, there has been a steady increase of hit and run cases in the State of Florida itself. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website (FHSMV), in 2019 alone, there were over 105,000 incidents where the driver left the scene of the accident.
If you have been accused of leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury, then it is strongly advised to contact The Law Place today. Our attorneys are on hand to offer practical legal advice on the best way to proceed with your case to ensure you receive the best possible outcome. Contact our Fort Myers offices today to arrange a free initial consultation.
Possible Penalties Associated With Leaving the Scene of an Accident With Serious Bodily Injury in Fort Myers, FL.
In Florida, the extent of penalties that you will receive for leaving the scene of an accident will vary greatly depending on the extent of personal injury and property damage caused. Possible penalties for leaving the scene of an accident are as follows:
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Property Damage
If you are charged for leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage, then it is likely that you will be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. Punishments for a second-degree misdemeanor include:
- Fines of up to $500.
- Up to 60 days in jail.
- Up to 6 months on probation.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Minor Injury
If you leave the scene of a traffic collision that has resulted in minor injury, then it is likely that you will receive a third-degree felony charge. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, penalties for a third-degree felony charge may include:
- Up to $5000 payable in fines.
- Up to 5 years in prison.
- Up to 5 years on probation.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Serious Bodily Injury
Leaving the scene of an accident that has resulted in serious bodily injury is punishable with a second-degree felony charge. A second-degree felony charge may include penalties such as:
- Up to 15 years behind bars.
- Up to 15 years on probation.
- Fines of up to $10,000.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Death
If the traffic collision that you were involved in and left the scene of led to the death of an individual, then you will be convicted with a first-degree felony charge. If you are found to be guilty of the crime, then you will face a mandatory prison sentence. Punishments for a first-degree felony charge include:
- A prison sentence of between 4 and 30 years.
- Hefty fines of up to $10,000.
- A maximum sentence of 30 years on probation.
Additional Consequences for Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Serious Bodily Injury
In addition to prison time, hefty fines, and time on probation, if you are charged for leaving the scene of an accident, then you may also lose your driver’s license for a period of time. As noted in Florida Statute 316.027 and Florida Statute 322.0261, if you are convicted for leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury, then your driver’s license will be revoked for a minimum of three years.
After the three years have passed, you would be allowed to apply for a hardship license which will allow you to continue to drive for work purposes only. However, this will only be permitted once you have completed a 12-hour Advanced Driver Improvement Course.
At The Law Place, we fully understand how daunting facing criminal charges can be, which is why our criminal defense lawyers will be on hand to support you every step of the way to ensure you receive the best possible outcome. Call our offices in Fort Myers and receive a free, no-obligation consultation today.
Possible Defences for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Fort Myers, FL.
By seeking help from a reputable law firm, they will be able to assign you with a defense lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer will be able to investigate your case and will work on your behalf to build a strong defense strategy that can stand up in court against the prosecution. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, there are a number of possible defense strategies that your criminal defense lawyer may use. These defenses include:
- Lack of knowledge – In order to be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were aware that the accident took place. With no proof to show that you were aware that the accident took place, then your charges may be reduced to a misdemeanor.
- Physically unable to report – If you were injured as a result of the traffic collision, or were suffering from extensive emotional distress and trauma, then the defense may argue that you were, therefore, unable to fulfill the requirements as noted in Florida Statute 316.027.
- Plea bargain – Sometimes, the best-case scenario for your case is to enter into a plea bargain. A plea bargain will be negotiated by your criminal defense lawyer to ensure you receive the best possible outcome. Entering into a plea bargain often means that your charges are lessened in return for an alternative penalty. For example, your prison sentence may be reduced or eliminated entirely if you agree to pay for any property or vehicle damage that resulted from the accident.
By hiring a criminal defense lawyer, you are placing yourself in the best possible position to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case. An adept defense lawyer will be able to build a strong defense strategy that may see your charges reduced or even eliminated entirely. Contact The Law Place today to speak to a criminal defense lawyer and get started with your case.
Contact The Law Place in Fort Myers, FL., Today!
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury, then it is important to seek advice from a reputable criminal defense attorney. At The Law Place, we have a team of skilled defense lawyers who have handled many cases similar to yours. Between them, they have over 75 years of experience in dealing with the Florida legal system, so you can relax in the knowledge that your case will be in competent hands.
At our law firm, we offer a free initial consultation where we will sit down with you and evaluate your case. At this consultation, we will also provide you with practical legal advice and offer suggestions as to the best way to proceed with your case to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.
Our Fort Myers phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t hesitate to reach out at any time of day. Call our Fort Myers offices today and arrange a free no-obligation consultation with one of our highly skilled criminal defense lawyers.