There is no doubt that car accidents can be overwhelming and stressful. When an individual is involved in a car crash, he or she may not know what to do next.
In some instances, drivers may flee the scene of an accident. Even though it may seem minor, leaving the site of an accident could lead to criminal charges with severe consequences.
Here is What You Need to Know
In the state of Florida, leaving the scene of an auto accident is a criminal act, and it is commonly referred to as a “hit and run.” Drivers have to remain at the site of the crash or in a safe place near the site to make sure that those involved get the necessary medical attention and that all information is readily available to quickly investigate the incident.
In line with Florida Statute Section §316.062, the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury, death or even property damage must provide all the necessary information for an insurance claim. This information could include:
• Vehicle registration number
• The name of the driver
• Driver’s license number
• The address of the driver
After an accident, the drivers involved should immediately stop without hampering traffic more than is necessary. For example, if two drivers get involved in a minor fender bender accident, then pulling over to a nearby parking lot or even to the shoulder would be acceptable.
If an accident has resulted into property damage, and one of the drivers of the vehicles involved leaves the scene, he or she could easily face criminal charges.
But if any attended property is damaged for example an occupied vehicle, then he or she can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.
And this can include $500 in fines, or up to six months in jail, or even both, according to Florida Statute Section §316.062.
If a driver involved in a crash suspects another person in the accident suffered any kind of bodily injury, then he or she must stop either at the scene or in a safe, nearby location. He or she must also remain at the scene of the crash until aid is rendered.
According to Florida Statute Section § 316.027(2)., leaving the scene of a crash with bodily injury is considered a third-degree felony, and this is punishable by a $5,000 fine, or a prison sentence of up to 5 years or even both. Furthermore, this could mean having a felony conviction and a criminal record.
If someone is killed at the scene of a crash and the driver involved in the crash leaves the scene, he or she could easily face some of the severest consequences for a Florida traffic offense.
In line with Florida Statute Section §316.027(2)(c), this can be considered a first-degree felony.
And it is important to know that a conviction for this first-degree felony offense can translate to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of four years.
However, the person would still face a fine of up to $10,000, up to 30 years in prison or both. If the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident, then he or she could also face a mandatory sentence of four years.
In addition, drivers could be ordered to compensate the victims for the injuries or damages involved in the accidents. Drivers also might face having their driving licenses revoked for at least three years.
They might also be needed to attend a department-approved driver improvement course relating to the constitutional rights of susceptible road users relative to vehicles on the road.
Who to Call? Leaving the Scene of An Accident a Felony in Florida
Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Aston, is a Jacksonville criminal defense law firm with more than 100 years of combined experience fighting for the rights of individuals facing various traffic violations and criminal charges.
We represent clients against a plethora of misdemeanor and felony traffic offenses, including: reckless driving and leaving the scene.
If you or your loved one has been accused or involved in any kind of traffic offense, call us today on 904-398-2212 for an absolutely free consultation.