Definition of Leaving the Scene of an Accident
In Florida, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, or “hit and run,” is defined as the failure of a driver to comply with his or her statutory duties to remain at the site of a crash upon being involved in an impact with another vehicle, person, or property.
With regard to accidents involving only property damage, the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash has the following duties under Florida law:
- immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the crash or as close thereto as possible;
- notify the operator or owner of the vehicle or other property of the driver’s name, address, registration number;
- exhibit his or her driver’s license, if requested by the other party;
- If the property damaged in the crash is unattended, the driver must either locate the property owner (and then comply with the duties described above) or attach securely in a conspicuous place in or on the vehicle or other property a written notice giving the driver’s name and address and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving. The driver must then notify the nearest police department or law enforcement agency of the crash.
With regard to accidents involving injury or death, the driver’s statutory duties in Florida are as follows:
- the driver must stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the crash (or as close thereto as possible);
- give his or her name, address, and vehicle registration number to the other driver;
- exhibit his or her license or permit to drive, if requested;
- if it is apparent that medical treatment is required or if it is requested by the other person, render “reasonable assistance,” including carrying or making arrangement for the carrying of the person to a hospital, physician, or surgeon for medical or surgical treatment;
- If the other driver or person is not in a condition to receive the information specified above, the non-injured driver must report the crash to the nearest police authority.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene / Hit and Run
In Florida, the penalties available for leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run) will depend on the nature of the harm or damage caused by the crash.
If the crash involved personal injuries to another person, the offense is classified as a third degree felony, with penalties of up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine. However, if accident involved the death of the other person, the offense will be classified as a first degree felony, with penalties of up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If the defendant leaves the scene involving injury or death and the defendant is found to have been driving under the influence, the offense is subject to mandatory minimum prison term of 2 years. In all leaving the scene cases involving death or injury, the offending driver is also subject mandatory driver’s license revocation as determined by the court.
A hit and run involving only property damage is classified as a second degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent
If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident or car crash in Jacksonville, Florida, or if you are under investigation for doing so, it is essential that you exercise your right to remain silent. Speak with a Jacksonville, Florida criminal attorney prior to making any statement. Often, police in Florida have made up their minds about what happened in the accident or crash based on what the other driver has alleged. This means that anything you say can and will be interpreted in a way to incriminate you. An attorney can help you avoid making such statements and can present contrary evidence to help prevent charges from being pursued in the first place.
If you have been accused of leaving the scene of a car crash or vehicle accident in Florida, you should consult with an experienced Jacksonville leaving the scene defense lawyer immediately. Our attorneys have extensive experience defending these types of cases and will work to contest the charge or minimize the potential penalties you may face. Contact our Jacksonville criminal attorneys today for a free consultation.