A car accident is a nerve-racking experience. It can be difficult to think clearly, and in the midst of the adrenaline and shock, some drivers choose to leave the scene.
In Florida, leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offense. Depending on the nature of the crime, it may be a misdemeanor or felony.
If you are facing charges related to leaving the scene of an accident, contact Leader & Leader P.A. Michael D. Leader is a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer who will aggressively fight for a positive outcome to your case.
Call 954-523-2020 today to schedule a free consultation. Until then, read on to learn the answers to three FAQs about leaving the scene of an accident in Florida:
- What are the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident?
The penalties for leaving the scene of a crash depend on the exact charges the suspect faces. The charge may be:
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Property Damage
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Injury
- Leaving the Scene of An Accident Involving Serious Bodily Injury
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Death
If you leave the scene of a crash that involved property damage, you will face second-degree misdemeanor charges. A conviction could come with 60 days in jail, six months’ probation, and a fine of up to $500.If you leave the scene of a crash that involved an injury, you will face third-degree felony charges. A conviction could come with 5 years in prison, 5 years’ probation, and a fine of up to $5,000; if the injury is deemed a serious bodily injury, the crime is enhanced to a second degree felony punishable up to 15 years of prison and/or probation and a fine of up to $10,000. If you leave the scene of a crash that involved a death, you will face first-degree felony charges. A conviction will come with a minimum of 4 years in prison. You may face up to 30 years in prison, 30 years of probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.
All of the felony offenses result in a 3 year revocation of your driving privilege and under certain circumstances can carry a 4 year minimum mandatory sentence even without death. If you have a prior leaving the scene, you may not be able to bond out and may also face minimum mandatory sentencing.
- How common are hit and run crashes in Florida?
Hit and run accidents are more common than many people realize. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were more than 92,000 hit and run wrecks in 2015 in Florida. This rate has remained steady for several years.
Hit and runs in 2015 caused more than 19,000 injuries. More than 1,200 of these were serious bodily injuries.
- What defenses might apply to my case?
If you are facing charges related to leaving the scene of an accident, there may be several defenses that work in your favor. For example, you may not have known that the crash happened, or you may not have been able to report the incident due to a physical injury. Speak to competent counsel before speaking with law enforcement. If you think there may be an issue, do not wait for someone to come knocking and call Leader & Leader, P.A. right away!
If you are facing charges for leaving the scene of an accident, contact Leader & Leader P.A. A criminal defense attorney in Florida will evaluate your case and structure a comprehensive defense. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 954-523-2020.