As our criminal defense lawyers know, leaving the scene of an accident, also known as “hit-and-run,” is a serious criminal traffic violation. Under Florida state law, if you are involved in an accident, you must provide your name, address, driver’s license, and car registration information to the other party. You also must stop if there is any property damage; you have an obligation to check and see if there is any damage to any property involved in the crash (including your own). If the accident resulted in injury or death to another person, you have an additional duty to provide reasonable assistance to the victim by arranging for medical care. If you fail to do these things, as required by Florida law, you may be charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
We know that being involved in a traffic accident can be very scary; with all of the adrenaline rushing through your body, you might be tempted to leave the scene. As our Florida hit and run lawyers know, while that might seem like a decent idea, it is a bad idea with long-lasting consequences.
Potential Penalties for Hitting and Running
The penalties for this traffic criminal offense are serious and they include heavy fines, probation, suspension of driver’s license, and they can even include imprisonment making it imperative that a Florida hit and run lawyer is contacted. Therefore, if you are convicted of leaving the scene of an accident, your insurance premiums will almost certainly increase by a significant amount, placing a serious financial burden on you.
A hit-and-run offense in Florida may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony (depending on the circumstances of the accident). Leaving the scene of an accident after only causing property damage is considered a second-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 60 days in county jail and/or a fine of $500. Leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury is a third-degree felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a $5,000 in fines. Lastly, leaving the scene of an accident after causing death is a first-degree felony and comes with a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Contacting a Florida Hit and Run Attorney
The consequences of being convicted of a hit and run or leaving the scene are quite serious, as our Florida hit and run lawyers know. If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, it is crucial to find a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. An attorney can help you present your side of the story without making statements to police that will incriminate you down the line. Also, an attorney can find ways to achieve dismissal of your charges or find alternative resolutions such as records expungement or sealing.
If you were recently accused of leaving the scene of an accident, or any another criminal traffic offense, please contact a Florida hit-and-run lawyer at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert as soon as possible. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to get your charges dismissed or your sentence reduced. Our attorneys are former prosecutors in Broward County and are experienced in handling hit-and-run cases. At Leifert & Leifert, we provide aggressive and skilled legal representation, both in and out of the courtroom.