Leaving the Scene of an Accident
In the State of Florida, Leaving the Scene of an Accident is a criminal traffic offense. This charge is more commonly know as hit-and-run. The Florida Statute that defines this crime is 316.061. There are 2 elements that the prosecutor must prove in order to convict a defendant of this crime. The first is that an accident or crash occurred and it must have involved another person’s property which could be another vehicle, structure or building.
The second element is that the driver leaves the scene of the accident without providing their information including name, address, registration, driver’s license and any applicable insurance to the owner of the damaged property. If the owner of the damaged property is not available at the scene then the duty to report the crash falls to the nearest law enforcement agency.
This charge is also enhanceable and defined under a separate statute 316.027 when there is an injury or death to any person.
In cases where there is no injury or death and just property damage the charge is punishable as a second degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for a second degree misdemeanor is 60 days in jail, $500 fine, and/or 6 months of supervised probation. A conviction for this charge also carries 6 points on the driving record for the defendant.
In cases where there is an injury the crime is a third degree felony which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, $5000 fine and/or 5 years of probation.
In cases where there is a death the crime is first degree felony with a minimum jail sentence of 21 months and maximum sentence of thirty years, $10,000 fine, and/or 30 years of probation.
The term in the statute that is most highly scrutinized and subject to defense by an experienced criminal defense attorney is willfully. In some cases there is a lack of knowledge that an accident occurred. Unless the defendant has made admissions as to knowing they were involved in an accident then this defense can be asserted. Also circumstantial evidence and witness statements may disprove the lack of knowledge defense.
If you need a criminal defense attorney to represent you in a leaving the scene of an accident case, you want someone who will treat you like a person and not just a docket number. Central Florida’s own 850-CALL-JOE Law Firm handles every client’s case as if it were his own charge. With hundreds of hours of trial experience, thousands of cases resolve, Joe Knape still maintains this personal approach. With free initial consultations, you can discuss your case with Joe and know exactly how he intends to help resolve your problems. Start the process now by dialing 1-850-CALL-JOE (850)225-5563.