After an accident, Florida law requires you to complete certain duties before you’re able to leave the scene of the accident. When you fail to perform these actions after an accident then you could be charged with leaving the scene, otherwise known as a hit and run. A person doesn’t have to sustain injury for you to be charged with leaving the scene. If property damage occurred and you didn’t complete your duties outlined under Florida law, then you’ll still face hit and run charges because of it.
Most people leave the scene of a crime because they are worried about the consequences from the accident, especially if they are at-fault. However, it’s important to remember that the penalties from a hit and run charge are incredibly harsh. A conviction can mean expensive fines and possibly time in jail or prison. That is why it’s highly recommended you have legal representation to fight back. If you or someone you know has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney.
Hit and Run Lawyer in Palm Beach County, FL
It’s common for people to panic after an accident. In some cases, they may even leave the scene of the accident suddenly because of extreme nerves or stress. Unfortunately, the law considers leaving the scene of an automobile accident without performing certain duties is a crime. You could be facing serious fines and incarceration for a mistake you made in the heat of the moment.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a hit and run, it’s important you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney’s assistance. We suggest you get in contact with Meltzer & Bell, P.A. to find excellent and criminal defense representation. Our firm collectively has 20 years of experience we can utilize for your case. Call us now at (561) 557-8686 and we will set up your first consultation free today.
Meltzer & Bell, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Palm Beach County area including Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Wellington, Boca Raton, and Jupiter.
Overview of Hit and Runs in FL
- What Do I Do After an Accident Involving Property Damage in FL?
- Penalties for a Hit and Run Involving Property Damage in FL
- What Are My Duties After an Accident Involving Injury or Death?
- Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Injury or Death
- Additional Resources
What Do I Do After an Accident Involving Property Damage in Florida?
Drivers in Florida must abide by the statutes and perform certain duties after an accident that involved property damage. If a driver has struck another vehicle or piece of property, they must remain at the scene of the crash or as close as possible and must return to or remain until the driver has done the following:
- Give their name, registration number of the vehicle and address;
- Exhibit their driver’s license or permit to the other driver;
- Provide all this information to any law enforcement officer at the crash; and
- If no officer is present or available after the crash, then the driver must report the crash to the nearest office of a duly authorized police authority so to give a report or hand over the crash information to a law enforcement officer
Failing to remain at the scene and provide this information will result in a noncriminal traffic infraction. When you receive a noncriminal traffic violation the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) will add points to your license. If you have more than 12 points on your license within a year period, then you could have your license suspended as a result.
Penalties for a Hit and Run Involving Property Damage in Florida
When you leave the scene of an accident involving property damage, then you could face the statutory penalties for a hit and run. If convicted, then you could face a second-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for a second-degree misdemeanor include the following:
- Up to 60 days in jail;
- Up to 6 months of probation; and
- A fine of up to $500
What Are My Duties for an Accident Involving Injury or Death in FL?
Automobile accidents is one of the number one leading causes of death in the United States. Many people find themselves involved in accidents where one person sustained serious bodily injury or even died as a result of the crash. When this happens it’s always an incredible shock to everyone involved, especially the other driver. However, the state of Florida expects drivers to perform certain duties if they are involved in a crash with death or injury. These include:
- Stop immediately and call for medical help and law enforcement;
- Render reasonable assistance to the injured or deceased person as soon as possible by administering treatment instructed by a medical professional, transporting them to a medical professional for treatment, arranging transportation for the injured or deceased person, or transportation of the person; and
- Give their name, address and registration number of the vehicle;
- Exhibit their driver’s license to the other driver if possible; and
- Present all this information to any officer at the scene of the crash
Penalties for Hit and Runs Involving Injury or Death in Florida
Even if the property damage was minimal the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident are serious. If serious injury or death is involved, then you should expect the penalties to be enhanced dramatically. If you leave the scene of an accident involving serious injury or death, then you’ll be charged with a third-degree felony. The penalties for a third-degree felony include the following:
- Up to 5 years in prison;
- Up to 5 years of probation; and
- A fine of up to $5,000
If the victim sustained serious bodily injury, then you will be charged with a second-degree felony. It’s important to note a serious bodily injury is any injury that creates a substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of a limb or internal organ. The penalties for a second-degree felony include:
- Up to 15 years in prison;
- Up to 15 years in probation; and
- A fine of up to $10,000
If a person died due to the accident, then you will face a first-degree felony which can lead to:
- Up to 30 years in prison;
- Up to 30 years in probation; and
- A fine of up to $10,000
Your driver’s license will also be revoked for at least three years by FDHSMV. You cannot receive any type of hardship license until you’ve completed a 12-hour Advanced Driver Improvement Course from the DHSMV.
Hit and Run Awareness – Visit the official website for the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) to read more about leaving the scene of an accident, the duties for the scene of an accident, penalties for the crime and statistics for cases in the state of Florida.
Duty to Give Information & Render Aid – Visit the official website for the Florida Senate to learn more about your duties after an accident involving property damage or injury/death to give aid or information. Learn what the penalties are if you don’t perform these duties, how it intersects with a person’s right to not self-incriminate themselves and what to do if law enforcement isn’t available to help you after a car accident.
Defense Lawyer for Leaving the Scene in West Palm Beach, FL
Have you been arrested for a hit and run? Are you unsure what to do now and how to defend yourself? If so, we highly encourage you to get in touch with Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. Our traffic defense attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. have been practicing criminal defense for years. Utilizing our knowledge, resources and skills we can create a sturdy defense structure for you.
You can contact us at (561) 557-8686 to set up your first consultation absolutely free. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County area including Palm Beach, Wellington, Jupiter, Boca Raton and Delray Beach.