In 2014 the Orlando Sentinel reported that hit-and-runs were up 32 percent since 2004. The same article reported that, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle statistics, 15,560 cases of drivers leaving the scene of an accident were reported in 2013. This number includes everything from fender-benders to fatalities.
Under Florida Statutes, Sections 316.061-316.063, Leaving the Scene of an Accident is defined as the driver’s failure to remain at the site of an automobile crash, when that crash involved property damage, bodily injury or death. There are certain statutory duties detailed in the section regarding a Florida hit-and-run such as:
- You must immediately stop following the accident, staying as near to the site of accident as possible;
- You are required to show your driver’s license, if the other party asks;
- You are required to provide your identifying information to the person who owns the property which was damaged or to the injured party;
- You must provide your driver’s license, registration and address to the police officer on the scene, and
- If there were no witnesses to a crash, and only property damage occurred (you dinged another car in the parking lot or ran into a mailbox), you must first make an attempt to locate the property owner, and, if unsuccessful, you must securely attach a written notice with your name and address and the basics of the accident in a place which will be easily seen. You must then notify the nearest law enforcement agency of the crash.
Additionally, if the crash resulted in serious bodily injury or death, you have a statutory duty to:
- If it is obvious there are injuries and medical treatment is required, or another person requests medical treatment, then you must render any “reasonable assistance,” including taking the other person to the hospital, or making arrangements for transportation to the hospital for the other person or persons, and
- If the other driver is unable to request assistance, and you are not seriously injured, you must immediately notify law enforcement.
Proving the Crime of Leaving the Scene of an Accident
In order to convict you of leaving the scene of an accident in the state of Florida, the state must show that:
- You were driving a vehicle involved in a crash which led to severe injury or death of another person, or property damage;
- You were aware—or should have been aware—you were involved in an accident;
- You willfully chose to leave the scene prior to providing identifying information to the other person or calling the police, and/or
- You failed to render needed assistance to another person involved in the accident.
For a free legal consultation with a leaving the scene of an accident lawyer serving Florida, call 941-444-4444
Penalties Associated with Hit-and-Run in the State of Florida
The penalties you may face, if convicted of leaving the scene of an accident in the state of Florida will depend on whether a death or serious injury occurred, or whether the damage was only to property. Potential penalties include:
- If you leave the scene of an accident in which another person died, you could be charged with a first-degree felony, and, if convicted, could face penalties of up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If you were driving under the influence at the time of the accident, you will be subject to a mandatory four-year prison sentence.
- If you leave the scene of an accident where another person suffered injuries, you could be charged with a third-degree felony. Your penalties, if convicted, could include up to five years in prison or five years probation and a $5,000 fine.
- If you leave the scene of an accident that only involved property damage, you may be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor and, if convicted, you could face as many as 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, take your charges seriously, even if there were no injuries resulting from the accident. The criminal attorneys at The Law Place can help you during this difficult time, just as we have helped many other clients charged with leaving the scene of an accident. We know that a single mistake should not define the remainder of your life, and we will work hard for a positive outcome to your charges. Contact The Law Place attorneys today at 941-444-4444.