Florida Statute 316.061 states that leaving the scene of an accident, also known as a ‘hit and run,’ is recognized as the driver’s failure to fulfill their statutory duty of remaining at the location of the car accident in the State of Florida. If you were caught leaving the scene of an accident, then you will be facing serious consequences, especially if the case involves property damage, bodily injury, or even death.
The State of Florida requires all drivers to operate their vehicles responsibly and in accordance with the law. This is also known as the duty of care, which every driver is automatically accountable for as soon as they pass their driving test. The law expects all citizens to drive mindfully and carefully to ensure the safety of themselves and other road users in Sarasota. If an individual breaches this law and violates their duty of care by driving recklessly or getting caught leaving the scene of an accident, then they will have to answer to the judge and jury.
If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving only property damage and no injuries, then most likely, this will be classed as a misdemeanor in Sarasota. The penalties will include receiving a hefty fine and possibly facing jail time and probation, depending on the details of your case and previous criminal record. In addition, you could potentially receive six points on your driver’s license once you have been adjudicated guilty for leaving the scene of an accident.
It is important that you speak to a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage in Sarasota. The Law Place has over seventy-five years of collective experience and knowledge when it comes to handling cases involving DUI, property damage, car, and truck accidents.
Our law firm specializes in helping clients in Sarasota and across the State of Florida beat their leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage charges. If you wish to receive the best legal advice, then reach out and call a lawyer from our firm today. Contact us now on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation, and we will fight your leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage charges together.
A Driver’s Statutory Duties Involving Property Damage in Sarasota, FL.
If a driver has been involved in a car accident that only resulted in property damage to another vehicle or object, then the driver is required to fulfill these statutory duties in the State of Florida:
- The driver must stop their vehicle as close as possible to the scene of the car accident.
- The driver must inform the owner of the vehicle that their property has been damaged in the accident and collect their information, such as name, license, and registration.
- The driver is required to show their license if the other driver or a police officer has requested to see the information.
- The driver is required to provide name, license, registration, address, and any other kind of information for the police officers to investigate the scene of the accident.
- The driver has the responsibility to locate and notify the owner if they were absent when the car accident or property damage occurred. If the driver cannot find the owner of the vehicle, then they must write a note including their name, address, and registration number and attach it securely to the owner’s vehicle or other property that was damaged.
- The driver is required to notify the police department or law enforcement as soon as possible following the car crash.
The above information is sourced from Florida Statutes 316.061-316.063.
For a free legal consultation with a leaving the scene involving property damage lawyer serving Sarasota, call 941-444-4444
A Driver’s Statutory Duties Involving Bodily Injury or Death in Sarasota, FL.
If a driver has been involved in a car accident that resulted in bodily injury or death, then the driver is required to fulfill these statutory duties in the State of Florida:
- The driver is required to stop their vehicle as close as possible to the location of the car accident.
- The driver is obliged to give their name, address, and vehicle registration number to the other driver.
- The driver must display their license if the other driver or a police officer has requested to see the information.
- The driver is required to provide license, registration, address, and any other relevant information to the police officers investigating the scene of the car accident.
- The driver must offer ‘reasonable assistance’ if medical treatment is required or requested by the other injured person. This includes calling for an ambulance or arranging for the person to be taken to a hospital.
- The driver must report the car accident to the police department or law enforcement if the other person is injured or not in a condition to receive the information as specified above.
Sarasota Leaving the Scene Involving Property Damage Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
Required Proof in the Courtroom in Sarasota, FL.
For a Florida prosecutor to prove that the driver failed to fulfill their statutory rights and left the scene of an accident at trial, they first must prove these four factors without a doubt:
- The driver was operating the vehicle that was involved in the accident that resulted in property damage, bodily injury, or the death of another person.
- The driver knew or should have been aware that they were involved in a car accident.
- The driver knew or should have been aware that the car accident resulted in property damage, bodily injury, or the wrongful death of another person.
- The driver failed to remain at the scene of the accident or stop as close as possible to the location. In addition, the driver failed to provide the necessary identifying information to the other driver or police officer investigating the accident. They also failed to make themselves available and offer ‘reasonable assistance’ to the person who was injured.
‘Identifying information’ means providing your name, address, and vehicle registration number if it is requested, including driver’s license or permit.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Sarasota, FL.
If a driver has been caught leaving the scene of a car accident, then the penalties will depend upon the harm or damage caused because of the crash:
- Accidents involving property damage – A leaving the scene of an accident charge involving only property damage is recognized as a second-degree misdemeanor in the State of Florida. The penalties include spending up to sixty days in jail and receiving a $500 fine.
- Accidents involving injury – A hit and run charge involving a personal injury of another person is recognized as a third-degree felony in the State of Florida. The penalties include facing up to five years in prison or five years of probation, in addition to receiving a $5,000 fine.
- Accidents involving death – A leaving the scene of an accident charge that results in the death of another person is recognized as a first-degree felony in the State of Florida. The penalties include spending up to thirty years in prison and receiving a $10,000 fine. If it is discovered that the driver caught leaving the scene of an accident involving bodily injury or death was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then the offense will result in a minimum of two years in prison.
It is worth noting that all cases of leaving the scene of an accident involving bodily injury or death will also result in the driver’s license being revoked if deemed necessary by the court.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Defenses to Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Sarasota, FL.
The Law Place has many defense methods and strategies that could be used to contest your leaving the scene of an accident charge in the State of Florida. In order to reduce the charges and minimize the consequences, we could use the following defense methods:
- The actual identity of the driver who caused the crash is up for dispute.
- A lack of awareness or knowledge that a car accident occurred.
- A lack of awareness or knowledge that a collision occurred that affected another person’s vehicle or property.
- The driver’s failure to stop and fulfill their statutory duties was not intended, but because of an emergency.
- The driver tried to stop as close as they possibly could to the location of the car accident.
- The other driver denied the identifying information that was being given.
- The other driver became hostile and argumentative. They insisted that the driver leave the scene to contact the police department or law enforcement.
- The driver’s assistance to the injured person involved in the car accident was ‘reasonable’ as in the confines of the statue.
A leaving the scene of an accident charge in Sarasota doesn’t always result in a conviction, even without a skilled defense strategy. However, a knowledgeable attorney could make all the difference for a case like this, especially when you get in touch with a reputable law firm like The Law Place.
If you reach out and contact one of our skilled attorneys as soon as possible after the accident, then they will be able to quickly contact the prosecutor to discuss a lenient resolution to your misdemeanor case. This resolution will most likely help you to avoid jail, probation, and a permanent criminal record.
Example Hit and Run Scenarios
It is important to understand that most leaving the scene of a car accident cases are not always going to have the same outcome. The circumstances and facts of a hit-and-run charge may vary, and a knowledgeable lawyer will have to work out the details when they are developing your defense. Here are two key examples to help you understand the range of leaving the scene of a car accident cases:
Blair is distracted while driving by checking her phone behind the wheel. She ends up accidentally running past a stop sign, as she wasn’t paying attention to the road ahead. Blair’s negligence results in her hitting Chuck’s car. Chuch was driving through the intersection in a legal manner. Chuck’s car hits a lamppost and is run off the road.
Blair spots Chuck through her car window and notices that he is still moving around in his vehicle. However, instead of fulfilling her statutory duties by getting out of the car to help Chuck, she ultimately decides to drive away from the scene of the accident. Following the sudden impact of the collision, Chuck is still able to act fast and uses his phone to take photographs of Blair’s car as she flees.
A few weeks have passed, and Blair believes that she managed to escape without getting caught. However, soon enough, Blair is charged and arrested for leaving the scene of an accident and failing to fulfill her statutory duties according to the State of Florida. Even though Chuck did not suffer any major injuries, it is still highly likely that Blair will be facing serious consequences for her actions, such as spending time in prison or receiving a large fine.
In this situation, a skilled lawyer can offer their services to defend Blair in front of the judge and jury and attempt to reduce the charges and minimize the consequences that she might be up against. A knowledgeable lawyer will also be able to ensure that she is not charged with an unreasonable outcome for her crime.
Nate is driving around a lake that is favored by pedestrians and bikers in the neighborhood. In a split second, Nate becomes distracted by a bird, which causes him to run his car off the road and hit a cyclist. Nate panics as he has already accumulated points on his driver’s license over the years. His fear of the loss of his license results in his failure to fulfill his statutory duties by refusing to get out of the car to help the innocent cyclist.
Nate speedily drives away from the scene of the accident and believes that he has gotten away without being seen. As a result of the hit-and-run, the cyclist has been in the hospital for over a week to receive medical attention for the serious injuries endured. Luckily for the cyclist, there were witnesses to the hit-and-run, and their testimonies aided the search for Nate.
The cyclist files a personal injury claim against Nate for the unlawful incident, which includes compensation for property damage and all the injuries endured. The judge and the jury ultimately rule against Nate.
Nate is now obliged to pay compensation for all of the injuries and property damage suffered as a result of the accident. In addition, he received a large fine for deliberately inflicting pain and suffering on another person and failing to fulfill his statutory rights.
Importance of Hiring an Attorney in Sarasota
It is a serious criminal offense to leave the scene of a car accident (also known as a hit-and-run) without fulfilling the statutory duties that every driver is required to act upon in Sarasota. If a driver unlawfully flees the site of a car crash, then it will most likely be charged as a misdemeanor, or possibly even a felony, depending upon the severity of the accident and if it resulted in property damage or a personal injury.
If you are facing a hit-and-run charge, then it is essential that you hire the services of a skilled lawyer. With over seventy-five years of combined experience, The Law Place has managed hundreds of leaving the scene of accident cases, including crimes involving reckless driving, property damage, bodily injury, and death.
We know that the laws surrounding a leaving the scene of a car accident case can seem hard to comprehend on your own, but this is where our law firm can step in to guide you. The Law Place has the necessary knowledge and awareness of the laws in the State of Florida to help you fight your hit-and-run charges with great success.
If you have been charged with leaving the scene of a car accident involving property damage, then it is important for you to seek representation from a reputable law firm as soon as possible. A lawyer from The Law Place can conduct an intensive investigation into your case, contact law enforcement for further information, discuss details with insurance companies, and negotiate a reasonable outcome for your case.
Rest assured that The Law Place will develop a strong defense and explore every available option to reduce the charges and decrease the severity of the consequences that you might be facing. Our law firm is aware that one genuine mistake made from fear and panic shouldn’t be held against you for the rest of your life, and we want to help you move forward.
If you are feeling uncertain about what to do following a leaving the scene of a car accident charge, then get in touch with The Law Place today. Our team of skilled lawyers can offer you some legal advice on how to approach your case and how to best handle the charge. Contact The Law Place now on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation, and we will fight your leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage charge together.