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Under Florida law, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, or “Hit and Run,” is a serious criminal offense that may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the facts of a particular case.  If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident or “hit and run” in Florida, contact an experienced Jacksonville Leaving the Scene of an Accident Attorney today.

At Hussein & Webber, PL, our criminal defense team has extensive experience representing clients accused of leaving the scene of an accident and “hit and run.”  There are many defenses available to contest this type of charge, and a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer is an essential resource for avoiding or mitigating possible penalties.

Leaving the Scene of An Accident: Overview of Duties After a Crash

(A) Duty to Provide Information and Assist- In Florida, the driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting in injury, death, or property damage must comply with specified duties. Under Sections 316.027, 316.061, and 316.062, Florida Statutes, the driver must stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the crash (or as close thereto as possible) and give his or her name, address, and vehicle registration number to the other driver.  Where there is personal injury or property damage, the driver must, upon request of the other person, also exhibit his or her license or permit to drive.  If the nature of the injuries require it, the driver must also render “reasonable assistance” to the injured person, including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment. Under the statute, this duty will only apply where it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.

In the event none of the persons specified are not in a condition to receive the information to which they otherwise would be entitled to, and the driver must report the crash or accident to the nearest police department or law enforcement agency.

(B) Unattended Vehicles: Duty to Leave Information- Under Section 316.063, Florida Statutes, the driver of any vehicle which collides with any unoccupied vehicle or unattended property, resulting in any damage to such other vehicle or property, must immediately stop and attempt to either: (1) locate and notify the owner of the vehicle or other property of the driver’s name and address and the vehicle registration number for the driver, or (2) 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.  Afterwards, the driver must contact nearest police department and inform them of the incident.

(C) All Accidents: Duty to Move Your Vehicle Out of Traffic- Although you have an obligation not to leave the scene of an accident, Sections 316.027 and 316.061 of the Florida Statutes also require you to make reasonable efforts to move your damaged vehicle from the roadway if it is blocking or obstructing traffic.  Often, a driver involved in a crash will move the vehicle to a nearby location so that the driver can call a family member or law enforcement officer with no intention of "leaving the scene of an accident." If the moving of the vehicle was done to prevent an obstruction or blocking of traffic, this may provide a defense to a subsequent charge of leaving the scene of an accident (discussed below).

Definition of Leaving the Scene of an Accident- Florida

In Florida, the crime of 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 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:

With regard to accidents involving injury or death, the driver’s statutory duties in Florida are as follows:

Penalties for Leaving the of an Accident / Hit and Run Under Florida Law

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 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 and Your Right to Talk to a Lawyer

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, contact an experienced Jacksonville leaving the scene lawyer immediately.  Our attorneys have extensive experience defending these types of cases and will work to contest the charge or mitigate possible penalties. Call our Jacksonville criminal attorneys today for a free consultation.