If you have unfortunately found yourself in a road accident here in Florida, then it is important that you remain at the scene of the incident so you can exchange information. If you leave the scene, then this is counted as a hit and run, and you could possibly face a criminal conviction. If this incident involved another party being injured, then you could face a felony conviction here in Venice, FL.
If you are found guilty of leaving the scene of the incident involving serious bodily injury here in Venice, FL., then you will likely have your driver’s license revoked after conviction, and you will be charged with a second-degree felony. The penalties in Florida for a second-degree felony include up to 15 years imprisonment, up to 15 years of probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.
The consequences of this type of incident should be taken very seriously, and it is important that you try to avoid the worst-case scenario as much as possible. The best possibility you have for this charge to not affect your entire life is to seek legal help. Here at The Law Place, we have a combined 75 years of experience when dealing with this type of case. Many of the attorneys on our team have an AVVO rating of 10.0, which is the highest possible rating you can receive.
What Is the Definition of Leaving the Scene of an Incident in Venice, FL?
If you are charged with leaving the scene of an accident in Florida, this counts as a hit and run, and you will be charged under Florida Statute 316.062.
This law is very clear. If you are involved in the accident in any way, you are required to stop at the scene as soon as possible. After this, you must remain at the scene until law enforcement informs you are allowed to leave. If the police are not required, then you may leave after you have exchanged details with the other party involved in the auto accident. Law enforcement must be called to the scene of the accident if there has been any sign of serious property damage or personal injury.
Under the Florida Statute 316.027:
- Any driver involved in an accident is required to stop immediately or as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Any drivers involved must provide their full name, their current address, license, and also their vehicle registration information.
- If it is requested by law enforcement, then drivers must provide either their driver’s license or permit.
- If any medical assistance is required for anyone involved in the auto accident, then the driver must give “reasonable assistance.” This includes things like calling the ambulance or arranging appropriate transportation to the hospital.
- At the scene, the driver must report the accident to the police. If any party involved has sustained a serious injury or there has been serious property damage, then this must be reported from the scene. If not, then it still must be reported to the police, but it can either be done at the local police station or online.
What Are the Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Venice?
Any penalty that is the result of either leaving the scene of an incident or committing a hit and run is all dependent on the extent of any resulting damage and injuries from the accident. If the other party involved has suffered no injury, then it is highly unlikely that you will face any time in prison. However, if the party involved has suffered a serious bodily injury, then there is a chance you could face a felony for leaving the scene.
What Happens if You Leave the Scene of an Accident Involving Property Damage in Florida?
If you left the scene of an accident that involved property damage, but no one was injured, then you will be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.
A misdemeanor is less serious than a felony, but it will still appear on your criminal record. The penalties for a misdemeanor include:
- Up to 60 days in prison.
- Up to six months on probation.
- A fine totaling up to $500.
What Happens if You Leave the Scene of an Accident Involving Injury in Florida?
If in an auto accident you left the scene of an accident that involved minor injuries, then you will be charged with a third-degree felony. Compared to a misdemeanor, a felony is more serious. If you are convicted of this, and it is a hit and run, then the penalties could include:
- Up to five years in jail.
- Up to five years on probation.
- A fine totaling up to $5,000.
What Happens if You Leave the Scene of an Accident Involving Serious Bodily Injury in Florida?
If you leave the scene of a car accident that involved serious bodily injury, then this means you will be charged with a second-degree felony.
A serious bodily injury is when your injury results in physical conditions that pose a risk of death, disfigurement, or loss/impairment to a limb or organ function. If you were involved in a hit and run that led to parties sustaining serious bodily injuries such as these, then you could face very serious penalties such as:
- Up to 15 years in jail.
- Up to 15 years on probation.
- Or a fine of up to $10,000.
What Happens if You Leave the Scene of an Accident Involving Death in Florida?
Finally, if you left the scene of an accident where it involved a death, then this means you will be charged with a first-degree felony. For this, a prison sentence is mandatory if you are found guilty of the offense. However, other penalties include:
- Time in prison between four and 30 years.
- Up to 30 years on probation.
- Or a fine of up to $10,000.
Driver License Revoked
Under both Florida Statute 316.027 and Florida Statute 322.0261, if you leave the scene of an incident that has involved an injury and you are convicted, then this will result in your driver’s license being taken away for a minimum of three years.
After this, you are able to apply for a hardship license, which would allow you to continue to drive for work purposes only. However, to acquire this, you will have to complete a 12-hour advanced driver improvement course. If you think this may be relevant in your individual case, then a qualified attorney could help you secure a hardship license.
What Are Some Defenses When Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
If you have left the scene of a car accident in Venice or anywhere else in Florida, then the defense strategy your attorney decides upon will depend on your individual case. Some of the most common defenses include:
- Lack of knowledge – For you to be charged with a hit and run, then you must be knowledgeable of it. The prosecution in your case must prove you were aware the accident occurred and that you had no reason to believe there was any injury involved. With no proof, then your conviction could be dropped for a lower charge, such as a misdemeanor.
- Physically unable to report – If you have been injured in the accident, or you were in too much shock to report it.
- Plea deal – In some cases, the best-case scenario is to take a plea bargain. A plea deal is when you receive a lesser charge or even escape conviction in return for another agreement. For instance, a qualified lawyer may be able to lessen the felony you are set to receive if you pay for any injuries and property damage caused in the accident and also complete a driver safety course. This may be the only alternative to avoid a long prison sentence. Your criminal defense attorney will decide the best option for you.
Collecting Evidence in Venice, FL.
The law here in Florida dictates that law enforcement must arrest you if you are potentially facing a felony. So, if you were involved in an accident that involved a personal injury, then you are more than likely to be taken to a local prison. This is where it is essential you speak to a law firm. It is highly recommended you contact a lawyer as soon as you leave the scene of the car accident. We understand you may not be thinking about your defense at this point in time. However, we highly recommend you still seek legal advice as you will be able to gather evidence as soon as possible where a criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you on the next best course of action.
When speaking to your attorney, it is very important you are honest with them. The more details you provide about your case, it is the less likely the prosecution will catch you off guard. Your attorney’s goal will be to have your charge reduced or even dismissed altogether. Here at The Law Place, our attorney-client relationship is at the heart of what we do, so we are here to support you through the whole legal process.
As soon as you contact The Law Place, your attorney will begin working on your case straight away, and they will make sure to defend you from every possible angle to get you the best outcome. Throughout your legal case, your attorney will be your key point of contact. They will view video surveillance, witness statements, police reports, mechanic reports, photographs from the accident, and anything else that may be relevant. If this is not done as soon as possible, then you may lose your chance at a substantial defense. Any piece of evidence that is linked to your case may be vital to proving your innocence. This could be the difference between you spending time in prison and a lesser charge.
Some Questions to Ask a Criminal Defense Lawyer Before Hiring Them
If there is the chance that you could face a felony, then it is important you hire the best legal representation you can. If you decide to hire a criminal defense attorney through The Law Place, then our legal team will dedicate themselves to helping you fight your case. However, we understand that you may need to do your research first, so here are some questions to considering when hiring a potential law firm:
- Can I see references from some of your previous clients?
- Have you handled cases like mine, and how successful were you?
- How many jury trials have you represented your clients in?
- What are your fees, and how will I pay?
- How successful have you been at working out plea bargains?
Contact The Law Place in Venice Today
Here at The Law Place, we will be able to provide you with an aggressive defense strategy from a member of our experienced legal team.
Our law firm prides itself on refining our skills, both in and out of the courtroom. In your case, hiring the right law firm will be important for proving your innocence.
Call us today at The Law Place on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation, where our lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.