Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Leaving the Scene of a Crash, also called Hit and Run, is charged when a driver does not stop immediately and knowingly leaves the scene of a crash or accident without providing identifying information and/or failing to render reasonable assistance to any injured person or persons. An accident can be a scary event. People leave the scene of a crash more than you may know. There are a number of legal ramifications, civil and criminal, which must be considered. Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties are full of attorneys looking to litigate traffic related damages and injuries. If you or someone you know is charged with Leaving the Scene of a Crash then they should consult with a competent Criminal Defense Attorney.Definition of Leaving the Scene of a Crash in Florida
Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Damage to Vehicle or Property, as defined by § 316.061 and § 316.062, Florida Statutes, involves a driver knowingly leaving the scene of a crash or accident without providing identifying information to either the other driver or person attending the other vehicle or to the crash investigators.
Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Bodily Injury or Death, as defined by § 316.027 and § 316.062, Florida Statutes, involves a driver knowingly leaving the scene of a crash or accident ewithout providing identifying information or without rendering reasonable assistance to the injured, including making arrangements to transfer the injured or deceased person to the hospital.
The crash or accident may involve a pedestrian who is working upon or providing emergency services along the highway; or a person riding or using a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter, moped, horse, pony, farm tractor, skateboard, roller skates, inline skates, horse drawn carriage, electric personal assistance device, or wheelchair.
The State’s attorney must prove beyond a reasonable that the defendant is guilty of Leaving the Scene of a Crash by establishing the following four (4) elements of the crime:
(1) The defendant was the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash or accident occurring on public or private property which results in the death or injury of any person; and
(2) The defendant knew that he or she was involved in a crash or accident; and
(3) The defendant knew, or should have known from all of the circumstances, including the nature of the crash or accident, that one of the following resulted:
(a) Damage to the property of another person; or
(b) Injury to another person; or
(c) Serious injury to or death of another person; and
(4) One or both of the following is applicable:
(a) Willful failure to give any part of the identifying information: The defendant willfully failed to stop at the scene of the crash or accident, or as close to the crash or accident as possible, and remain there until he or she gave “identifying information” to the injured person or to the driver of the vehicle or the operator of the damaged property and to any police officer at the scene or investigating the crash or accident; or
(b) Willful failure to give reasonable assistance: The defendant willfully failed to render “reasonable assistance” to the injured person if such treatment appeared to be necessary or as requested by the injured personPenalties for Leaving the Scene of a Crash in Florida
If found guilty, the driver may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim for any damage or loss, and will have their driver license revoked of at least 3 years. Additionally, the driver is subject to the following applicable criminal penalty:
(1) Leaving the Scene of a Crash Resulting in Property Damage is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 as provided in §. 775.082 and § 775.083, Florida Statutes.
(2) Leaving the Scene of a Crash Resulting in Injury is a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 as provided in §. 775.082 and § 775.083, Florida Statutes.
(3) Leaving the Scene of a Crash resulting in Serious Bodily Injury is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 as provided in §. 775.082 and § 775.083, Florida Statutes.
(4) Leaving the Scene of a Crash Resulting in Death is a first degree felony punishable by a mandatory minimum of 4 years and up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 as provided in §. 775.082 and § 775.083, Florida Statutes
Note: Any defendant previously convicted of any combination of two or more felonies in Florida who is subsequently convicted of another felony may be subject to enhanced penalties or a mandatory minimum prison term as provided in § 775.084.Defenses to Leaving the Scene of a Crash in Florida
(1) The driver had no knowledge of an accident or crash
(2) The driver experienced a negligible impact so made a reasonable assumption there was no resulting injury to anyone else
(3) The other driver refused to accept the identifying information
(4) The other driver became belligerent and threatening necessitating exiting the scene
(5) No damage, injury or loss resulted from leaving the accident sceneExamples of Leaving the Scene of a Crash in Florida
(1) The driver was not aware of hitting another person or object so continued driving
(2) The accident was out of cell phone range and the driver left to get help for the accident
(3) The driver experienced what seemed like a negligible impact so left the scene assuming there was no resulting injury since the driver was unaffected
If you have been charged with the crime of Leaving the Scene of a Crash in Broward, Miami-Dade, or Palm Beach County, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney right away to ensure your rights are protected. The Law Office of Sean Clayton, P.A., can help you better understand your situation and your options. Contact us today for your free consultation.