A hit-and-run is a criminal offense that involves leaving the scene of an accident. Leaving the site of a motor vehicle crash when you are involved is an incredibly serious offense and can be classed as a felony if the accident resulted in death.
Regardless of how seriously the Florida legal system sees hit and runs, we know that there are two sides to every story. Often, in the heat of the moment, people make bad decisions as their panic overwhelms them. Their “fight or flight” response kicks in, and the stress and panic they feel lead them to flee the accident. Only later does the driver realize they did the wrong thing.
Despite this, anyone convicted of leaving the scene of an accident faces severe penalties, especially if the accident resulted in a fatality. Therefore, it’s crucial that you enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney. The hit-and-run lawyers at The Law Place have over 75 years of combined experience helping clients just like you that have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident. You can trust that they will work tirelessly to minimize the long-term consequences of your charges and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. We understand that you’re not a bad person. You made a single mistake and should not be punished too harshly for this. For a confidential, free case evaluation, you should contact us today.
Our phone lines are open 24/7, so call us now at (941) 444-4444!
What Florida Law Says About Leaving the Scene Involving a Death
Florida Statute 316.061 clearly states that someone has committed the crime of leaving the scene of an accident when they:
- Are involved in an accident or crash that has damaged another person’s property and/or injured or killed another person.
- Willfully left the scene of the crash or accident instead of staying to provide their name, address, registration information, and driver’s license.
Depending on how severe the consequences of the crash were, the driver at-fault must give their details to the necessary person. If only property damage was caused, then you must hand over your information to them or the nearest law enforcement agency.
What Are the Driver’s Statutory Duties in North Port, FL?
If you’re at fault for a car accident that resulted in death, regardless of whether it was on public or private property, then you can be charged with a first-degree felony if you didn’t follow your statutory duties as a driver.
These duties are outlined in Florida Statute 316.027 and are listed below:
- The driver must stop their vehicle as soon as possible and at the accident or as close to the accident as possible.
- The driver must give their details, including their full name, current address, license, and vehicle registration information, to any investigating officers at the scene.
- The driver must present their license or permit if requested to.
- If medical assistance is needed by anybody who was involved in the crash, then the driver must offer “reasonable assistance,” such as transferring or arranging the transfer of victims to the hospital.
- The driver must report the accident to law enforcement.
If the injured or deceased victim is not able to receive your information or be transported, it is a requirement that the driver reports the accident and provides the information to the nearest law enforcement agency as soon as possible.
Not everyone understands the laws surrounding this crime, and they can be incredibly confusing. This is why an attorney can help you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our North Port lawyers to receive valuable legal advice that you can trust!
What Are the Penalties for Leaving the Scene of a Car Accident in North Port, FL?
A charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving death is usually a first-degree felony, the highest possible in Florida, which means defendants are facing particularly harsh penalties. However, these penalties ultimately depend on the specific circumstances surrounding your case. Despite this, there are some penalties that defendants who are found guilty of hit and runs involving death are commonly sentenced to. These are listed below:
- You could face a prison sentence of at least four years, but ranging up to 30 years.
- You could be sentenced to probation for up to 30 years.
- Finally, you could be fined up to $10,000.
Under Florida Statute 316.027, your driver’s license will also be revoked for at least 3 years if the accident you caused resulted in death. You will not be able to apply for a hardship license, either, until you have completed an advanced driver improvement course.
The penalties you face for leaving the scene of an accident involving death are incredibly steep, especially when it may have just been a small mistake. These penalties can have a huge effect on your life, and so our North Port criminal defense lawyers want to help you. Our attorneys at The Law Place have decades of experience and possess a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the Florida legal system and hit and run cases. You can trust us to build the strongest defense possible on your behalf. By getting in touch with us, you’ll be enlisting the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney who will be completely dedicated to minimizing the impact that your charges have on you. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and to receive valuable legal advice.
Additional Consequences of a Hit and Run Conviction
However, it isn’t just jail time and fines that you will be facing if you’re convicted. On top of these serious penalties, you will also get a permanent criminal record, which can directly impact your future in any of the following ways:
- Difficulty when searching for employment as many employers may not offer jobs to candidates with criminal records.
- Difficulty when applying for mortgages and rent agreements.
- Difficulty when applying for any type of finance, including loans and overdrafts.
- Disadvantaged if you need to seek visitation or custody rights.
- Difficulty in continuing education, such as when applying for college and scholarships.
- Difficulty in successfully applying for certain licenses.
Your criminal record is permanent, and so these consequences are likely to affect you for the rest of your life, even after you’ve finished serving your sentence. Because of this, it’s crucial you contact a traffic defense lawyer to give you the best possible chance at avoiding conviction. Call The Law Place today and book a free case evaluation!
When Should You Hire a Defense Attorney?
If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death in North Port or elsewhere in Florida, then it’s crucial that you don’t hesitate. Seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
When they have been initially arrested and accused of a crime, it is very common for suspects to say the wrong thing that can be held against them later on. It is important that anyone who has been arrested thinks clearly and protects their rights. Use your right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions until you have spoken with a criminal defense lawyer. You should remember that law enforcement officers are experienced and trained in questioning suspects and extracting information from them without suspects even realizing it. Police officers are also authorized to be dishonest and deceptive in interviews to give them a better chance at getting you to plead guilty. Therefore, it’s crucial to have an experienced legal team on your side that can advise you on what to say and what not to say.
The sooner you contact a law firm and hire legal representation, the better, as it will give our criminal defense team plenty of time to thoroughly investigate your case and gather evidence to build a strong defense and prepare solid representation in time for your trial.
Proving Guilt in a North Port Leaving the Scene Involving a Death Case
There are certain elements that the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a leaving the scene involving a death case, and it is your defense team’s job to prevent them from successfully doing this. The prosecution must be able to prove all of the following:
- The defendant was the one who was operating the vehicle that was involved in the crash, which occurred on either public or private property and ultimately resulted in the death of another person.
- The defendant was aware that they had been involved in a crash.
- The defendant was aware or should have been aware that the nature of the crash would likely have resulted in injury or death for the other person.
- The defendant willfully failed to stop at the scene of the accident, or as close to the scene as possible, and remain there until they had given the necessary personal details and information to the injured person, driver, passenger, or person attending the vehicle and any police officer who was investigating the crash. Or, the defendant willfully failed to offer “reasonable assistance” to the injured person if it appeared that such treatment was necessary or requested by them.
Ultimately, if the prosecution is successful in proving that the defendant willfully failed to give any of their “identifying information” or willfully failed to give “reasonable assistance,” then the prosecution will likely be successful in proving that you have committed the offense. If they can do this in a case where the crash was fatal, you will be charged with a felony.
However, even if the prosecution is able to successfully prove guilt, the attorneys at The Law Place have an abundance of knowledge and will be able to build a solid defense on your behalf that can prove that this was a mistake, you had an acceptable reason to do so, or you deserve leniency. So call The Law Place today to schedule a free consultation and give yourself the best chance at securing a positive outcome!
Defenses for a North Port Leaving the Scene Involving a Death Case
It should be stressed that all types of cases are different, and this is no different for a hit-and-run involving death case. Because of this, your criminal defense lawyer will need to build an individual defense tailored to the specifics of your case. Without this, you would have a much lower chance at a successful outcome. Some of the most common defense strategies used in these kinds of cases are listed below:
- Disputing the identity of the driver.
- Disputing that the driver was aware that the crash had occurred.
- Disputing that the driver knew the extent of the impact that occurred as a result of the accident.
- Proving that the driver was unable to report the accident because they themselves had suffered an injury and so were physically unable to.
- The other driver refused to accept their personal information.
- The driver had no choice but to drive off – they did not leave willingly.
- The assistance that the driver offer was considered “reasonable” under Florida Statute 316.027.
- The other driver insisted that the driver left the scene in order to call the police, medical services, or for any other reason.
- The driver was unable to stop nearby but still attempted to stop as close as possible.
Even if you don’t think any of these defenses can apply to you, it will still be worthwhile for you to contact The Law Place and schedule a free consultation. A skilled defense lawyer will be able to fully delve into your case and the facts surrounding the crash to determine what defense, not limited to those listed, would work best for you. Perhaps the victim’s death was actually caused by a delay in medical treatment or other external factors out of your control, rather than because you left the scene.
Even if there is no viable defense that can be utilized in your case, a leaving the scene of an accident charge doesn’t always need to result in a conviction or harsh penalties. An attorney may be able to negotiate a favorable plea deal for you and will fight to persuade the judge that you do not deserve to be sentenced to harsh penalties.
An experienced lawyer from The Law Place may be able to help you with this. If you enlist the help of the criminal defense attorneys at our law firm, our team will dedicate themselves completely to your case and fight to minimize the impact these charges will have on your life. Our North Port lawyers will research and investigate your case to ensure they build a strong and impenetrable defense on your behalf. Our team of attorneys will ruthlessly question the legitimacy and accuracy of any evidence that the prosecution brings against you and will focus on getting you acquitted, your charges reduced or dismissed, or minimizing the penalties you’re sentenced to. By working with us, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance at a favorable outcome, so don’t hesitate! If you’ve been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, call us today to schedule a free consultation.
What Makes a Good Criminal Defense Attorney?
When you hire a criminal defense attorney, you are trusting strangers with a situation that will have a tremendous effect on your life. Therefore, it’s crucial that you hire the best possible defense attorney for your sake. When looking for a criminal defense lawyer, you should want them to be the following:
- Be trustworthy – Your Florida attorneys must keep all communication that you have with them completely confidential, as it’s crucial that you have such trust in your lawyer that you feel confident to speak freely to them without fear of any consequences. This is central to any positive attorney-client relationship. Our lawyers have worked with many clients over the years, so we can guarantee you trust between yourself and our team.
- Be an excellent communicator – In order to effectively build a defense, represent you in court, and negotiate on your behalf, your criminal defense attorney should be excellent at communicating and listening to you. Not only should they be able to effectively communicate with you, but also with all third parties involved, particularly jurors and witnesses close to the case. Rather than speaking to you in complicated legal language that many people would struggle to understand, our team of North Port lawyers will speak to you clearly and concisely, so that you know what is happening with your case at all times.
- Be totally committed to you and your case – For the best chance at a successful outcome, you need to hire a lawyer who is completely committed to helping you and working on your case. Without this, you will not receive the quality of defense that you deserve. Our team promises to fully commit themselves to your case and dedicate their hours to fighting the charges that you’re facing.
The attorneys at The Law Place have over 75 years of combined experience working with clients facing charges just like yours, and so you can trust that our team is prepared to put in the effort to build an effective attorney-client relationship, give support, and guide you through this trying time. For legal help, contact The Law Place today for a free consultation.
What Can a Lawyer From The Law Place Do for You?
When you’re facing charges for serious crimes, like leaving the scene of an accident involving death, you may be feeling a lot of stress and remorse. You may also be feeling too confused and scared to even attempt to navigate the complex Florida legal system. This is why you need to contact a North Port criminal defense lawyer. Our lawyers will be able to reassure you and ensure you stay positive throughout the whole process, supporting and guiding you every step of the way. They will be able to explain the process to you, so you no longer feel so confused and concerned, and will take on the bulk of the work so that you don’t have to worry.
Below is a list of just some of the many things our traffic defense lawyers will do on your behalf:
- Thoroughly investigate your case by interviewing witnesses and reviewing all police reports and subpoena documents relevant.
- Research case statutes and precedents.
- Prepare to examine witnesses.
- Sort through and submit required legal documents for you.
- Build a strong and aggressive defense.
- Represent you in court.
- Negotiate with the prosecution in an attempt to persuade them to reduce your charges, drop the charges, or offer you a plea deal based on your specific case.
- Fight for a dismissal, acquittal, or for the most lenient penalties possible.
If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death, then our law firm can help you. Our attorneys have the experience, in-depth knowledge, and determination required to give you the greatest chance at securing the best result possible for your particular case. So contact us today to get booked in for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our highly-qualified attorneys!
Call The Law Place Today
If you or a loved one have been arrested and are now facing a conviction for leaving the scene of an accident involving death in North Port or elsewhere in Florida, then you cannot hesitate. We know that you may have just made a simple mistake, and we don’t think you should be suffering from the harsh consequences of it for the rest of your life.
For quality legal advice and representation that you can trust, contact The Law Place today and schedule a free consultation at (941) 444-4444!