According to Florida Statute 316.062, all drivers on the road in Sarasota have a duty to stop after an accident to exchange information and seek medical assistance if necessary. This statute also requires those involved in the accident to contact the police if there has been any injury or serious property damage.
However, sometimes after an accident, you panic and go into flight mode, which may cause you to leave the accident scene, despite your better judgment.
The penalties for leaving the scene of the accident, often referred to as a hit and run, depends on the severity of the crash. Undoubtedly, death is the worst outcome, and the penalties reflect this. Penalties include thousands of dollars worth of fines, many years in prison, and many years of probation.
If you are facing being charged with leaving the scene of an accident, then you must speak to a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. We will work to achieve the best outcome for your case. When you face many years in prison and other outcomes that could impact you for the rest of your life, you need the best possible representation.
Contact us today at (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation. Our phone lines in Sarasota are always open, so if you have been involved in an accident, you can seek information and advice when you need it most.
What Florida Law Says About Leaving the Scene Involving a Death
The law is clear, following an accident in Florida, you must stop immediately, or as soon as it is safe, and you must remain until law enforcement arrives at the scene. Law enforcement must complete the requirements of Florida Statute 316.062.
The driver’s statutory duties as outlined in Florida Statute 316.027 are as follows:
- The driver must stop as close to the scene as it is safe to do so.
- The driver must give their details to the other driver or the police if they are called, including name, contact information, and vehicle registration.
- If medical assistance is required by any person involved in the crash, the driver must give “reasonable assistance.” This includes arranging transport to the hospital.
- The driver must report the accident to the police authority, either while at the scene if there has been serious property damage or injury, or if the accident is minor, it must be reported after – either at their local police office or online.
What Are the Penalties for Leaving the Scene of a Car Accident Involving Death in Sarasota?
If you were involved in an accident and were guilty of leaving the scene, this could constitute a hit and run, and you could be facing a third-degree felony, 60 days in jail, and a $500 fine.
However, if you were involved in an accident that caused a death, you could face a first-degree felony that is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and up to 30 years of probation. Your driver’s license will also be revoked for a minimum of three years as per Florida statute 316.027, and no hardship license can be obtained until you have completed an advanced driver improvement course.
The charges for leaving the scene of an accident are severe. Therefore it is important to speak to a criminal defense attorney who can assist you.
Proving Guilt in a Sarasota Leaving the Scene Involving a Death Case
When it comes to your criminal charges, it is the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove guilt because the burden of proof is on the prosecutor. The prosecutor must prove you were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If they are unable to, you cannot be found not guilty.
The prosecutor must prove the following:
- You were the driver of the vehicle involved in the car crash that resulted in a death.
- You should have known that you were involved in a serious crash.
- You should have been aware that the crash caused serious injury or death.
- You knowingly failed to stop at the accident scene or failed to remain there until you had given your information or provided “reasonable assistance.”
Your accident attorney will do everything they can to cast doubt on one of these four areas, which may result in you escaping the charges brought against you for leaving the scene of an accident.
Defenses for Leaving the Scene Involving Death
There are many possible defenses for leaving the scene of an accident. Your attorney will listen to the information regarding your case and determine the best course of action. They may be able to fight for your charges to be dropped or reduced to leaving the scene of an accident not involving death. Some common defenses include:
- Mistaken identity; you were not the driver who left the scene of the accident.
- You did not have knowledge of the accident.
- You were unaware of the damage caused by the accident.
- Your own injuries prevented you from reporting the accident or assisting the other parties.
- You did not willingly leave the accident but were forced to based on the circumstances.
- It was not safe to stop at the scene.
- The other driver refused to take your information.
- The other driver forced you to leave the scene of the accident.
- The assistance offered was reasonable and within the terms of the statute.
- The victim’s death was caused by another delay in medical treatment, not because you left the scene.
When Should You Hire a Defense Attorney for a Hit and Run in Sarasota, FL?
If you have been accused of leaving the scene of an accident that caused death, you could be facing a first-degree felony, resulting in many years in prison and many years of probation.
Even if the accident did not cause death, a third-degree felony would result in 60 days in jail and a criminal record that will affect your job and housing prospects.
Whatever the circumstances of your case, you do not want to be charged with leaving the scene of an accident in Sarasota, FL.
A defense attorney will do everything in their power to help you escape a conviction. And if this is not possible, then they will help to minimize the penalties brought against you. This could involve minimizing your charges or working out a plea agreement.
When you are facing something that could impact you for the rest of your life, you need to ensure quality representation. The sooner you contact us, the better as we will get right to work collecting evidence and doing everything we can to protect you.
What Makes a Good Criminal Defense Attorney?
A good accident attorney in Florida should:
Be trustworthy – Central to any effective client-attorney relationship is trust. You should trust that your attorney has your best interests and heart and should feel able to be honest with them about your case.
Be a good communicator – Your attorney should be an excellent communicator. They should listen to you and communicate effectively with you and all third parties involved, such as the jurors and witnesses. Our team will communicate with you clearly and concisely rather than speak in law jargon that you do not understand! We will also communicate all of our fees upfront, so you are not left with any surprise bills.
Be 100% committed to you and your case – Your attorney should be 100% committed to your accident case. At The Law Place, we review your case as a team so that your defense strategy can benefit from our whole team’s knowledge and experience of Florida law, which spans over 75 years. However, after this you will receive one attorney who is 100% committed to you. They will become your advocate and will do everything in their power to assist you.
What Our Law Firm Can Do for You?
When you contact us for a free consultation, we will offer free, no-obligation advice. If you agree to representation, we will get straight to work.
We will interview witnesses, request and review all of the police reports and subpoena documents relating to your case, and research case statutes and precedents to build an aggressive defense to put forth to the judge and jury. We will be prepared to stand up for you in court.
Most of our attorneys have the highest possible AVVO rating of 10.0. This is based on awards, years of service, and reviews from previous clients. We have numerous testimonials from people who have been happy with our services and are eager to recommend us to others.
Call The Law Place Today
If you are under investigation for leaving the Sarasota scene, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Whether you left the scene of an accident that resulted in death or minor injuries, the impact on your life could be huge.
You deserve the best representation and the best chance at moving forward and continuing with a normal life. Contact us today at (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation.