An arrest for any allegation of wrongdoing is a serious event. Many people do not realize that failing to remain at the scene of an accident that results in property damage or physical injury is a criminal offense. As a result, if a Police Officer obtains information that you were involved in one of these incidents, they may make an arrest at any time in the future.
Knowing how to respond and react to Wellington hit and run arrests is critical to protecting yourself and preserving your legal rights. While an arrest can occur if a Police Officer has probable cause that an offense has occurred, this is never proof of your guilt. Cooperating with Police Officers while providing them with as little information as possible helps craft the building blocks of effective defenses in court. A hit and run Attorney can protect your rights while in Police custody.
The Laws that Permit Hit and Run Arrests
Police Officers can only make arrests if they have probable cause that a person has violated a specific portion of state law. As applied to hit and run cases, two separate state statutes apply.
The first and less serious is Florida Statute § 316.061. This law says that all people involved in motor vehicle incidents resulting in property damage must provide identifying information to the property owner. This covers damage to another’s vehicle and all other objects. Violations of this law is a Misdemeanor. Convictions could involve penalties including up to 60 days in Jail, fines of up to $500, or both.
Far more severe are accusations that a person has failed to remain at the scene of a crash involving physical injury or death of another. Under FL Stat. § 316.027, these cases are Felonies where convictions can result in Prison sentences as long as 30 years and a very long driver’s license suspension.
Understanding the legal basis for hit and run arrests in Wellington is often the first step in mounting an effective defense. Knowing what information Police Officers will try to collect could help people limit the impact of any questioning that occurs during and after an arrest.
How to Protect Oneself During the Arrest Process
Once a Police Officer decides that probable cause exists to make an arrest, it is impossible to stop that arrest from occurring. In fact, it is a separate crime to resist arrest in any way. To this end, people have an obligation to provide basic identifying information during the booking process.
However, this should be the extent of a person’s cooperation with Law Enforcement. There is never a requirement to talk to the Police about an alleged crime or to answer their questions. People also have the right to have Legal Representation before, during, and after an arrest. Having Legal Counsel helps limit the information that Police Officers in Wellington may gather during an arrest for a hit and run and forces Prosecutors to build cases on their own without the help of frightened or intimidated drivers in Police custody.
An Attorney Could Provide Support During and After Wellington Hit and Run Arrests
An arrest under allegations of committing a hit and run is a serious matter. Even the lesser version of these laws is a criminal case where convictions will create a criminal record and could result in Jail time. Incidents involving supposed physical injury or death are Felonies, where convictions come with mandatory Prison time.
Knowing how to protect yourself during and after Wellington hit and run arrests is vital information. You must provide Police Officers with personally identifying information and not resist arrest in any way. However, you do not need to damage your case by providing information about the collision or the moments and days following it. An Attorney could provide additional support during an arrest. Reach out to Leifert & Leifert now to learn more about your defense options.