As the population continues to grow in Florida, so does the risk of having a motor vehicle accident every time we enter a highway. A car accident is a terrifying and costly experience, both in damages and personal injury. The impact of a crash can leave a driver disoriented and unable to make rational decisions. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, hit and run accidents occur 25-40 times a day in this state. Fleeing the scene of an accident can be a panic response or it can be the result of other reasons, such as drivers that have no auto insurance, driving an unregistered vehicle, driving with a suspended or no license, driving under the influence or fear of deportation or criminal action.
Leaving the scene of an accident with property or personal injury damages is a criminal offense in the State of Florida and a conviction can result in misdemeanor or felony penalties. The legal consequences depend on the extent of property damages and personal injuries that were incurred as a result of the accident. Florida Statute 316.062 requires that drivers involved in an accident are to stop, provide information and render medical aid if there are any injuries. Penalties imposed for a conviction can range from 60 days in jail, a $500 fine and driver’s license revocation, up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, with a 4 year mandatory prison sentence. A driver cannot be charged if the damage in the accident is to their own vehicle only. For drivers under the influence, there is a minimum of a two year mandatory prison sentence for inflicting personal injuries.
To convict a driver for leaving the scene of an accident, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was the actual driver of the car. The defendant must realize that they had an accident that caused damages, injury or death and the defendant failed to provide aid to an injured party or information, such as their name, address, registration of vehicle and driver’s license information.
If you are being criminally charged for leaving the scene of an accident, it is best to remain silent except for answering basic questions to law enforcement, to prevent self-incrimination. It is urgent that you contact a criminal law attorney right away. The Law Office of Frank P. Remsen, P.A. is a criminal defense law firm that is dedicated to providing high quality, personalized legal representation for their clients.
Some of the defenses for clients being charged with leaving the scene of an accident are;
- The driver left the scene of the accident for needed medical care.
- The driver was physically or mentally incapable of making a report due to their own injuries.
- Lack of knowledge that the driver was involved in an accident, such as hitting a pedestrian at night.
- The driver hit a parked car and made attempts to notify the owner of the vehicle.
- The other driver was threatening, causing the client to leave the accident scene.
- The driver drove away from the accident scene to prevent highway obstruction.
- A dispute as to who was the actual driver of the vehicle.
At the Law Office of Frank P. Remsen, P.A., we keep our clients informed of their status throughout the court process for driving offenses. We work diligently to get criminal charges reduced or penalties mitigated. Call us for a consultation. We listen and we care.