Florida Hit-and-Runs on the Rise, FHP Says
Incidents of Florida hit-and-runs are fast increasing, according the Florida Highway Patrol, which has kicked off an awareness campaign enlisting statewide media.
Our Broward hit-and-run defense attorneys know that the charge is a gravely serious one that, per Florida Statute 316.062 and Florida Statute 316.027 can be punished with anything from a non-criminal traffic violations (in instances with minimal damage and no injury) all the way up to a first-degree felony, punishable by life in prison (in instances involving death). It is absolutely critical in these cases for individuals to seek the counsel of an experienced traffic defense lawyer. If you can do so prior to your arrest, even better. The earlier we can get started on a case, the better our chances of a favorable outcome.
The state highway patrol is reporting that last year, Broward ranked No. 2 in the state for hit-and-run crashes, tallying a total of nearly 7,860, representing an 8 percent increase from the year before.
It follows just behind Miami-Dade County, which ranked No. 1 – and that was even with a 15 percent annual decrease in 2012. Last year, the county racked up nearly 12,815 hit-and-run crashes, while the previous year there were about 15,230.
Combined, these two counties comprised about 30 percent of the statewide total hit-and-runs, which neared 70,000 last year.
Palm Beach County did not rank among the top five, but authorities there tabulated a slight increase too, from about 3,370 in 2011 up to 3,380 in 2012.
The number of fatalities in these instances climbed as well, albeit slightly. There were 168 hit-and-run deaths counted in Florida last year, compared to 162 in 2011. Another 17,000 people were injured. Among those, three-fifths were pedestrians.
In many of cases involving pedestrian hit-and-runs, we know that drivers simply may not have realized that the object they struck was a person, particularly if the scene was dark and the individual was wearing dark clothing.
Some survivor families express anger that in some cases, it doesn’t seem as if the driver even made an attempt to stop, noting the absence of skid marks at the scenes. But that just further supports the position that in many cases, drivers simply don’t know they’ve hit someone. It won’t always completely absolve the driver of blame in the case, but it can go a long way toward reducing the penalties.
Additionally, if the individual struck was intoxicated at the time or acting illegally (such as improperly crossing the roadway), that can also serve to bolster your defense.
Drivers may also make the split-second call to flee if they are impaired or don’t have a license or insurance or are an illegal immigrant.
In Florida, drivers have a statutory duty to give information and render aid, regardless of whether anyone was injured. No matter what your situation, we are committed to helping you fight the charges.
If you are arrested in Broward County, contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Partnership of Former Prosecutors, for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1.888.5.DEFEND.
Hit-and-run crashes, fatalities on rise, state warns, Feb. 19, 2013, By Linda Trischitta, Sun Sentinel
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Greenacres Mother Charged With DUI, Endangerment, Feb. 10, 2013, Broward County Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog