Broward County hit and run convictions can result in paying fines of up to $10,000, spending up to 30 years in prison, and having a criminal record which could affect employment, housing, and financial and government aid.
If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident against Florida law, contact an experienced Broward County hit and run lawyer to review the situation and determine what legal defenses might be available to you. Consult a capable criminal defense attorney and know that you are in good hands.
Legal Definition of Hit and Run
According to Florida Statutes Sections 316-061 et. seq., leaving the scene of an accident is defined as the failure of a driver to remain at the site of a vehicle crash and fulfill other statutory duties, when the crash at issue involves death, bodily injury, or property damage. Essentially, that means hitting someone’s car (or a person or other property) and leaving the scene without doing more.
Florida often requires someone to stop when an accident occurs and there is bodily injuries or damage to property. Known as a statutory duty – it requires someone to:
- Stop their vehicle at the scene of the accident – or as close as possible
- Notify the operator or owner of the vehicle or other property of their name, address, and registration number
- Exhibit their driver’s license, if requested
- Provide license, registration, address, and other information to police
For accidents involving only property damage, drivers must either, locate the property owner, or attach a note which is securely in a conspicuous place in or on the vehicle giving their name and address and the registration number of the vehicle they are driving. Florida law requires drivers to notify the nearest police department as well.
For accidents involving potential bodily injury or death, Florida drivers must offer reasonable assistance – which essentially means making sure they are able to receive medical attention, either from the driver or by having the driver contact someone. Anytime an injured person cannot be moved, a driver must contact the police.
Proving a Florida Hit and Run
In order to prove the crime of hit and run (leaving the scene of an accident), the State must prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – that the accused:
- Was the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person, or resulting in property damage to another person
- Knew or should have known that they were involved in a crash
- Knew or should have known of the injury to or death of the other person, or of the property damage caused to another
- Willfully failed to stop at the scene of the crash or failed to act reasonably in the ways listed above
A Broward County hit and run lawyer may be aware of numerous defenses to a hit and run charge which can result in having those charges dismissed or mitigated through a plea bargain, including misidentification, lack of knowledge, or showing that the driver acted as reasonably as possible under the circumstances.
Consequences of Hit and Run Convictions
Depending on the nature of the incident, the facts and circumstances surrounding it, and whether a victim died or suffered bodily injuries, Florida hit and run accidents can be classified as either misdemeanors or felonies.
While penalties vary, hit and run convictions can result in significant fines and prison time depending on the injuries sustained:
- Accidents involving property. Accidents which resulted in property damage are generally classified as second-degree misdemeanors which can result in serving up to 60 days in jail and paying a $500 fine
- Accidents involving injury. Accidents which resulted in personal injuries are generally classified as third-degree felonies which can result in serving up to five years in prison or paying $5,000 in fines and serving five years of probation
- Accidents involving death. Accidents which resulted in the death of another are generally classified as first-degree felonies which can result in serving up to 30 years in prison and paying a $10,000 fine
In addition, accidents which resulted from someone’s driving under the influence (DUI) or drugs or alcohol may result in spending two years in prison, paying significant fines, and being subject to driver’s license revocation.
How a Broward County Hit and Run Attorney Can Help
If you have been charged with a hit and run, contact an experienced Broward County hit and run lawyer to review the situation and determine what legal defenses might be available to you. Do not let a lapse in judgment or a misunderstanding affect the rest of your life without consulting with an attorney first.