As stated in Florida Statute 316.061 and Florida Statute 316.063, leaving the scene of an accident is defined as the driver’s failure to remain at the location of the car crash that caused property damage, injury, or death. This is also known as a hit-and-run. In a Florida hit-and-run situation, there are certain duties that must be adhered to.
- The driver must stop immediately following the car accident and stay as close as possible to the location of the accident.
- The driver is required to show their license if the other driver requests it.
- The driver is required to provide identification, such as driver’s license, registration, insurance information, name, phone number, and address to the other driver and the police officer at the scene of the accident.
- In the event that the driver accidentally hit another car in a parking lot or ran into a mailbox, then the driver must attempt to find the owner of the property if there were no eyewitnesses to the car crash and only property damage occurred. If the driver is unsuccessful in locating the owner, then they must write a notice with their name and address and leave it in a safe place near the accident that can easily be seen. After completing this step, they must then inform the police of the accident.
The Orlando Sentinel conducted research on hit-and-runs in 2014 and discovered that it was up 32 percent since 2004. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) statistics, 15,560 cases of drivers leaving the scene of an accident were reported in the year of 2013. This includes everything from collisions to fatalities.
However, if the car accident resulted in injury or death, then you are required to:
- Immediately call for an ambulance if another person was seriously injured and requires medical treatment, remain available to offer assistance. This might even include transporting the injured person to the hospital or making arrangements for the injured person to be taken to the emergency room.
- If you are not seriously injured and the other driver cannot call for help, you must inform law enforcement.
If you were caught leaving the scene of a car accident, you would likely need a skilled lawyer to fight your Sarasota charges. Even if the accident didn’t result in critical injury or death, you should still take the case seriously. At The Law Place, we have over 75 years of collective experience and knowledge in handling cases such as yours. We are aware of the pressures that you might be under, and we know that a single mistake should not define you for the rest of your life. Our law firm will work hard and dedicate themselves to your case to ensure a positive outcome.
Contact The Law Place now at (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation, and we will fight for your rights.
Proving the Crime of Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Sarasota, FL.
If you were charged with leaving the scene of the accident in Sarasota, the state is required to prove that you were guilty of the following things beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you:
- You were driving the car involved in a crash that ultimately resulted in another person’s serious injury, death, or property damage.
- As the driver, you knew or should have been aware that you were involved in a car accident.
- As the driver, you intentionally chose to leave the scene of the car accident before waiting to provide identification and necessary information to the other driver or police officer.
- As the driver, you failed to help another person who was involved in the accident and had suffered injuries.
For a free legal consultation with a leaving the scene of an accidents lawyer serving Sarasota, call 941-444-4444
Penalties Associated With Hit-and-Runs in Sarasota, FL.
If you were charged with leaving the scene of a car accident in Sarasota, then you will be facing serious penalties, depending on if the accident resulted in serious injury or death and property damage. Penalties will be determined by the level and severity of the damage, which includes:
Accidents With Injury
If you leave the scene of a car accident that resulted in another person suffering injuries, then you could possibly be charged with a third-degree felony.
If you are convicted, then you could be facing a $5,000 fine, up to five years in prison, or five years of probation.
Accidents With Death
If you leave the scene of a car accident that resulted in another person dying, then you could possibly be facing charges of a first-degree felony.
If you are convicted, you could face a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison. In the event that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time that the accident occurred, then you will be subjected to a minimum sentence of four years in prison.
Accidents With Damaged Property
If you leave the scene of a car accident that resulted in property damage, then you could possibly be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. If you are convicted, you could face a $500 fine or up to 60 days in jail.
If you were caught leaving the scene of a car accident, then you should be taking the charges seriously. You could be facing a felony charge, up to 60 days in jail or even years in prison, and an extensive fine for your crime. At The Law Place, we understand the difficulties of your situation, and we believe that one mistake should not define the rest of your life. A lawyer from our firm will gather all of the essential information and build a strong case in order to fight for your rights.
Sarasota Leaving the Scene of an Accident Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
Example Hit and Run Scenarios
Leaving the scene of the car accident cases, also known as hit-and-runs, are not all necessarily the same as each other. The conditions and circumstances vary, and it is important for a skilled lawyer to take the details into consideration when developing a case for you. Here are two examples of different hit-and-run car accidents:
Jerry is distracted and is using his phone while driving. He accidentally runs past a stop sign without paying attention. As a result of his negligence, he hits Elaine’s car as she was driving through the intersection legally. Elaine’s car is run off the road and ultimately hits a road sign.
Jerry notices Elaine moving around in her car, but instead of stopping and getting out of his car to help Elaine and fulfill his statutory duties, he chooses to drive away from the scene of the accident. After suffering the impact, Elaine is still capable enough to move quickly and takes photos of Jerry’s car as he drives away.
A few weeks after the hit-and-run, Jerry is charged and arrested for leaving the crime scene and not fulfilling his statutory duties. It is possible that Jerry might be facing serious fines or even time in prison, even though Elaine did not suffer serious injuries.
However, a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Sarasota will be able to offer assistance and defend Jerry in court. They could make sure that he is not given an unreasonable penalty for his offense and minimize the consequences he might be facing.
George is casually driving around a popular lake, often used by pedestrians and bikers in the area. George becomes distracted by a bird that is flying over the lake and ends up running his car off the road and hitting a cyclist. Instead of fulfilling his statutory duties by getting out of the car and helping the innocent cyclist, George fears for the loss of his license as he already has multiple points on his license.
George quickly drives away from the accident scene and believes that he has escaped without getting caught. The cyclist spends over a week in the hospital to receive medical treatment for his severe injuries because of the unlawful hit-and-run. However, there were witness testimonies given for the hit-and-run, unbeknownst to George at the time, and the police are able to track him down. The cyclist decides to file a lawsuit against George for the injuries and damages that he suffered from the accident, and the court ends up ruling in the cyclist’s favor.
George is now required to pay for all of the injuries and damages, in addition to receiving a hefty fine for intentionally inflicting pain and suffering.
Defenses to Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Sarasota, FL.
Our law firm has many potential strategies and defenses to argue against your charges or even minimize the consequences. Some of the most common defenses include:
- The identity of the driver is up for dispute.
- A lack of awareness or knowledge that the accident occurred.
- A lack of awareness or knowledge that an impact occurred with another person or someone else’s property.
- The failure to stop was not deliberate or intentional, but urgent circumstances dictated it.
- The driver tried to stop as close as possible to the location of the accident.
- The other driver denied giving out information for identification.
- The other driver’s behavior was aggressive, and they insisted on the driver in question leaving the scene to call law enforcement.
- The assistance offered by the driver was ‘reasonable’ within the boundaries of the law.
A leaving the scene of a car accident charge does not always result in a conviction, even without a feasible defense. In common misdemeanor cases, an attorney can gather the necessary information and make preliminary contact with the prosecution in order to negotiate a lenient resolution for your criminal traffic case. This will help you avoid a permanent criminal record, jail, and probation.
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Importance of Hiring an Attorney in Sarasota
In all leaving the scene of car accident cases, you must hire a knowledgeable attorney to help minimize the consequences or even avoid the charges that you might be facing. At The Law Place, we have managed many hit-and-run cases, and we have all the necessary experience and knowledge to handle your case with success.
Under Florida law, it is known as a serious criminal offense to leave the scene of a car accident without acting upon the statutory duties that are mandatory for every driver. If an unlawful departure from the car crash location occurs, then this can lead to a misdemeanor, or even felony charges, depending on the severity of the accident.
Leaving the scene of a car accident in Sarasota, Florida, is a critical matter. It is essential to make yourself aware of the laws surrounding a hit-and-run offense if you have been charged with leaving the scene of a car accident.
If you choose to be represented by our reputable law firm, then one of our lawyers will conduct an in-depth investigation of the case. We will reach out to law enforcement for more information, negotiate with insurance companies, and straighten out the accident’s facts to secure the best possible outcome for your case. Our law firm will do everything in our power to make sure the consequences are reduced or the charges are dropped for your case. We know that one honest mistake shouldn’t come back to haunt you in the future. We want to be the ones to help you move past this by being on your side and fighting for your rights.
If you have been involved in a leaving the scene of a car accident case in Sarasota, then reach out and contact The Law Place now. Our skilled team of lawyers will offer you a free consultation, where they will give you some honest and unbiased advice on the smartest move to make in your situation. Call our law firm now at (941) 444-4444, and we will be at your side every step of the way.