Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a criminal traffic violation here in the state of Florida, with all of the severe penalties that entails. If convicted of a hit and run, not only will your driving privileges be restricted, but you could be facing severe fines along with time in jail or even prison, especially if there were injuries involved. You could be facing manslaughter charges if the victim was killed in the crash.
While it’s wise to consult with a knowledgeable attorney for any traffic violation, it’s increasingly important to have a dedicated hit and run car accident lawyer when you’re accused of leaving the scene of an accident.
The Definition of a Hit and Run in Florida
Leaving the scene of an accident means you unlawfully depart from the site of a motor vehicle crash without fulfilling your statutory duties if the crash involves property damage, bodily injury, or death. Under Florida law, your duty as a driver involved in an accident involving property damage includes stopping your car, notifying the other party of the damage to their property, reporting the accident to the police, and providing your contact and insurance information to responding police officers. If the accident has caused bodily injury or death, your responsibilities additionally include rendering reasonable assistance to get the injured person medical treatment.
The Penalties for a Hit and Run
If convicted, you could be facing misdemeanor or felony penalties, depending on whether the accident resulted in injury or death. A hit and run that resulted in property damage is a second degree misdemeanor, which carries penalties of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, while an accident that resulted in injury is classified as a third degree felony. That carries up to five years in prison or five years of probation, plus a $5,000 fine and mandatory revocation of your driver’s license.
Hit and runs involving the death of the other person are first degree felonies, with penalties of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Leaving the scene in this case automatically earns you a mandatory minimum prison term of two years if convicted.
Even if you avoid jail time, having your license revoked and a conviction added to your criminal record will negatively impact your family, your career, and, obviously, your ability to ever drive again. With such severe criminal consequences involved, it’s critical to have the guidance of an experienced hit and run laws attorney on your side.
In some cases, the victim or their family could pursue damages through civil litigation. If you’re facing civil court on top of criminal charges, you need a hit and run compensation attorney.
Speedy Legal is Here to Assist You With a Hit and Run Case!
At Speedy Legal, we understand that mistakes happen. We’re here to make sure you get a fair shot and the opportunity to tell your side of the story if you’ve been accused of leaving the scene. It’s critical to engage our hit and run accident attorneys as soon as possible so that we can begin to build your defense and give you the best chance of reducing potential penalties.
In many misdemeanor cases, our hit and run defense lawyer Chris Shaw can make early contact with the prosecution to negotiate a more lenient resolution to your case, one that avoids jail, probation, and a permanent criminal record.
We’ve represented hundreds of criminal traffic violation cases and have a track record of success in and out of the courtroom. We’re here for you when you need us most.