In the State of Florida, every driver automatically assumes a duty of care when they are on the roads. This duty of care means that all drivers must operate their vehicles carefully and in accordance with the law in order to ensure the safety of themselves, their passengers, other road users, and pedestrians. However, it’s not uncommon for people to make mistakes and cause an accident and then panic and abandon the scene.
While the Florida legal system views hit and run very seriously and often punishes offenders severely, we know that there are always two sides to every story. People often make poor decisions in the heat of the moment as their “fight or flight” response kicks in during stressful situations. Usually, they later regret their actions once they realize they’ve done the wrong thing.
Despite this, if you are convicted of leaving the scene of an accident, then you will face severe penalties, particularly if the accident resulted in damage to someone else’s property. Because of this, it’s vital that you enlist the help of a criminal defense lawyer to give yourself the best chance at avoiding a conviction. The Law Place’s hit and run attorneys have over 75 years of collective experience in working with the Florida legal system and helping clients who have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident. You can trust in our team’s abilities and knowledge, and you can relax, knowing that they’ll fight tirelessly and use all the resources they can to minimize the consequences of this charge and achieve the most favorable outcome possible for your case. We understand that you’re not a bad person – you just made a mistake, and so it would be unfair for you to face such harsh penalties.
For a confidential, free consultation, contact The Law Place today!
Leaving the Scene Involving Property Damage Under the Florida Statutes
Florida statute is very clear about what is expected of drivers who were involved in a car accident. If a driver involved leaves the scene of an accident that caused property damage without handing over their personal details and contact information, they could face serious consequences.
According to Florida Statute 316.062, the driver of any vehicle involved in a crash that caused property damage must fulfill their statutory duties. If they do not, then they can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
If the property owners aren’t present, then you should report the accident to law enforcement as soon as possible.
For a free legal consultation with a leaving the scene involving property damage lawyer serving Port Charlotte, call 941-444-4444
Statutory Duties Involving Property Damage in Port Charlotte, FL.
If you have been involved in an accident that caused only damage to someone else’s vehicle or property, then under Florida law, you are expected to fulfill these duties before you can legally leave the scene:
- Stop – You must pull over at the soonest time in a safe location near the scene of the accident.
- Inform the owner – You must let the owner of the damaged car or property know of the accident and hand over your information, and ask for their information, such as names, addresses, contact information, driver’s licenses, and vehicle registration numbers.
- Driver’s license – If requested, you must show your driver’s license or permit to the parties involved and to the reporting police officer.
- Contact information – You will be expected to share your name, address, contact information, driver’s license, and vehicle registration with the reporting police officer at the scene.
- Absent owner – You must attempt to track down the owner of the damaged property if they weren’t present when the collision occurred. If you cannot find them, you should write a note including your name, address, and vehicle registration number and leave the note attached to the damaged property.
- Police report – You should notify the police department of the car accident immediately.
These statutory duties for an accident that involves only property damage can be found under Florida Statute 316.063.
If you were involved in an accident that involved property damage and you failed to fulfill these statutory duties, perhaps because you forgot or didn’t realize you had to, then you could be charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage. If this is the case for you, then you should get in touch with The Law Place immediately for legal advice that you can trust.
Port Charlotte Leaving the Scene Involving Property Damage Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
Why Might a Driver Leave the Scene of a Car Accident in Port Charlotte, FL.?
There is a range of valid reasons as to why a driver may leave the scene of a car accident, and our criminal defense lawyers will work hard to prove that you had just cause or an acceptable excuse for your actions. Some of the common reasons that a driver may flee the scene of an accident include the following:
- The driver was afraid of criminal action or deportation.
- The driver didn’t have a valid license or car insurance.
- The driver was driving a friend or family member’s car and didn’t want to get them in trouble.
- The driver didn’t realize they’d damaged the car.
- There was an emergency that the driver had to get to.
- The driver didn’t realize there were statutory duties that they had to complete.
Regardless of why you may have left the scene of a car accident, it’s crucial that you hire a criminal defense attorney with the skills and resources required to professionally defend you in court. At The Law Place, we offer a free consultation with one of our experienced defense lawyers to anyone who has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, so contact us today to schedule yours.
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Penalties You Could Face for Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Property Damage in Port Charlotte, FL.
If you have been charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving only property damage, then you will likely be facing a second-degree misdemeanor. While every case is different, the maximum sentence you could receive for this is the following:
- Up to 60 days in jail.
- Up to 60 days on probation.
- Up to $500 in fines.
You will also receive 6 points on your license, which could potentially result in a license suspension.
These penalties may seem incredibly steep to you, especially if you feel like you made a small mistake, which caused little harm because you were unaware of the statutory duties. Luckily for you, The Law Place is here to help. Our team understands the Florida traffic laws inside out, and their commitment, dedication, and knowledge will help them as they defend you tirelessly in court. So to give yourself the best chance at securing an acquittal or dismissal, contact The Law Place today and schedule a free case evaluation.
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Additional Consequences of a Hit and Run Conviction
Unfortunately, defendants who are convicted of leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage will not only face jail time and fines. As well as your sentence, you will automatically get a permanent criminal record, which will likely impact your future for decades to come in the following ways:
- Struggling to obtain employment, as many employers won’t offer jobs to candidates who have criminal records.
- Difficulty to successfully apply for rental agreements or mortgages.
- Difficulty when applying for financial help, such as loans and overdrafts.
- A disadvantage if you need to fight for custody or visitation rights.
- Struggling to continue education, particularly when applying for college and scholarships.
- Difficulty in applying for some licenses.
A criminal record is permanent, and so these consequences will most likely affect you for the rest of your life, long after you’ve finished serving your sentence. Because of this, it’s essential that you get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to give you the best chance at avoiding a conviction. So contact The Law Place now and arrange a free consultation.
When Should You Hire a Defense Attorney?
If you are facing charges for leaving the scene of an accident involving only property damage in Port Charlotte, or elsewhere in the State of Florida, then you shouldn’t hesitate – seek legal advice from a knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
It’s not uncommon for suspects to say the wrong thing that can later be held against them when they’ve initially been arrested for a crime. This is often because they’re nervous and not sure what they should and shouldn’t say. It’s important that anyone arrested protects their rights by remaining silent and refusing to answer any question until they have spoken with a criminal defense attorney.
Law enforcement officers are highly trained and have plenty of experience when it comes to questioning suspects to extract information out of them without them even noticing. Officers are also allowed to be deceptive and dishonest in interviews, so it’s crucial to speak to a lawyer and have an experienced legal team on your side so that your rights and chance at a favorable outcome are protected.
The sooner you get in touch with a law firm, the better, as it will give your defense attorneys plenty of time to investigate your case, gather evidence, and speak to witnesses, which will allow them to build a solid defense and prepare strong representation for your trial. So don’t delay any longer – contact The Law Place today.
Required Proof in the Court of Law in Port Charlotte, FL.
In the State of Florida, the prosecution must have enough evidence to be able to prove that the driver failed to fulfill their statutory duties. They will have to prove these four elements beyond a reasonable doubt at the trial:
- The driver was operating the car that was involved in the collision, which caused the property damage.
- The driver knew or should have been aware that they were involved in a collision.
- The driver knew or should have been aware that the collision damaged someone else’s property.
- The driver didn’t remain at the scene of the accident and didn’t stop near the location of the accident. They didn’t share their identifying information with the other driver involved in the collision or with the reporting police officer. They didn’t offer reasonable assistance to any injured persons at the scene.
While it’s the prosecution’s responsibility to prove these elements, it will be the job of your criminal defense attorney to prevent them from doing so successfully.
Defenses to Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Port Charlotte, FL.
If you have been arrested for leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage in Port Charlotte, then you are going to need the help of our law firm. The criminal defense attorneys at The Law Place have a range of defense strategies that they can tailor to your specific case and use to contest your charges. Some of the defenses that our team commonly and successfully uses include the following:
- The identity of the driver at fault for the accident is unconfirmed and can be disputed.
- You did not realize and had no reason to realize that the collision had happened.
- You did not realize and had no reason to realize that the collision had damaged another person’s vehicle or personal property.
- You unintentionally didn’t stop at the scene and fulfill your statutory duties because you had no other choice, and your actions were dictated by an emergency situation.
- You did your best to stop your car as close as possible to the scene of the crash.
- The other driver refused to take down or did not want to receive the identifying information that you tried to share with them.
- The other driver was argumentative and belligerent and demanded that you leave the scene, perhaps to find a police officer.
- You offered reasonable assistance but were refused.
It is possible for you to avoid conviction for your charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage. However, for the best chance at avoiding conviction, you need to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in fighting hit and run cases. Hiring the right lawyer will make all the difference for your case.
If you contact The Law Place as soon as possible after the accident, then our attorneys will have plenty of time to help you. They will be able to negotiate with the prosecutor at the early stages to try to agree on a more lenient resolution for the accident. We guarantee that we will fight relentlessly to ensure that you avoid a damaging criminal record.
The Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Port Charlotte, FL.
Our team of attorneys at The Law Place have plenty of experience when it comes to defending clients in all kinds of hit and run case. We know that no two cases are the same, and so we will provide you with individualized support and guidance to ensure you make the right decisions regarding your case.
We understand that you will likely be feeling stressed and confused, with no clue of what to do next. This is why you need to contact a Port Charlotte law firm today. Our attorneys would be able to reassure you and answer any questions you may have. We will be able to explain the process to you so that you’re not left in the dark about your case, and we’ll take on the bulk of the work so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.
Listed below are some of the main aspects that our team can handle on your behalf:
- Conduct and execute a thorough investigation into your charges.
- Collect and review any evidence, including police reports.
- Interview any eyewitnesses to the incident.
- Manage and submit all of the necessary paperwork.
- Negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss your charges.
- Develop a strong and solid defense strategy.
- Prepare to represent you in court.
- Fight on your behalf to avoid a criminal conviction, through an acquittal or the reduction or dismissal of charges, or to avoid a harsh sentence.
If you’ve been charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage, then we can help you. Our team of lawyers has the experience, determination, and knowledge necessary to provide you with the best chance at securing a favorable result, so get in touch with us today to schedule a completely free, no-obligation consultation with one of our highly qualified criminal defense lawyers!
Call The Law Place Today
If you or a loved one have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage in Port Charlotte or anywhere else in Florida, then you cannot hesitate any longer. We understand that you may have made a small mistake, and so we want to ensure that you aren’t left struggling with an extreme sentence.
So for quality legal advice and guidance that you can rely on, call The Law Place today and schedule a free consultation! Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so get in touch now!
Call or text 941-444-4444 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form