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Leaving the Scene of a Crash 

The most important thing a driver can do when they are involved in a crash is to stop and remain at the scene. If anyone is injured, you should call for help. You should remain at the scene until you fulfill certain reporting requirements imposed by Florida law.

If you leave the scene (often called "hit-and-run"), you can be charged with a serious misdemeanor or felony offense. 

Despite efforts to warn the public about the serious penalties for leaving the scene of an accident, the number of hit and run crashes in Florida has remained relatively steady over the years. Recent statistics released by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows that young men are the most likely to be charged with leaving the scene. In fact, in 2015, 18-27-year-olds received over a third of all hit-and-run citations issued. More than 70 percent of these citations were issued to a man. 

In fact, in 2015, 18-27-year-olds received over a third of all hit-and-run citations issued. More than 70 percent of these citations were issued to a man. 

Attorneys for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Miami, FL

If you made a mistake by leaving the scene of an accident, then be sure to immediately seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. After the crash, the officers will begin an investigation and might show up unannounced to your home or work to question you about the accident.

You are not required to incriminate yourself. Instead, you can invoke your right to remain silent and your right to be represented by an attorney. In fact, an attorney can help you invoke your rights under the 5th and 6th amendment so that the officers won't attempt to interrogate you. In addition to helping you avoid a criminal prosecution, a lawyer can also help you deal with the insurance company.

This article discusses the wide range of misdemeanor and felony penalties for leaving the scene of a crash. The charges range from a second degree misdemeanor all the way up to a first-degree felony. The potential punishments depend on whether the accident involved one of the following:

  1. a parked car or other unattended property such as a mailbox or fence;
  2. an occupied vehicle or other attended property;
  3. personal injury of any person; or
  4. a death or fatality.

Call an experienced criminal defense attorney at Hubbs Law to discuss your case. An experienced traffic crimes attorney in Miami can help you fight for the best possible result in your case.

Call (305) 615-5945 today.


Recent Statistics on "Hit-and-Run" in Florida

Recent statistics released by the DHSMV show that in 2015, there were more than 92,000 hit and run crashes in Florida. The vast majority of these cases involve only property damage. More than 19,000 injuries resulting from hit and run crashes, with over 1,200 of those involving serious bodily injury.

The most serious cases involve a fatality. In 2015 alone, 186 people died in hit-and-run cases. More than half of those killed were pedestrians. The DHSMV estimates that approximately one out of every four pedestrian crashes resulted in the driver leaving the scene. If a driver flees the scene, the situation becomes even worse.

Leaving the scene of a crash is a felony and a driver, when convicted, will have their license revoked for at least three years and can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of four years in prison.


Leaving the Scene of a Crash with Unattended Property

Under Florida Statute §316.063(1), if you are driving a vehicle that strikes another unoccupied vehicle or unattended property then you must stop your vehicle and locate the owner of the property and provide the owner with your name, address, and your vehicle’s registration number.

If you can not find the owner, then you must write down your name, address, and vehicle registration number and securely attach the note in a conspicuous place on the damaged property. If you leave a note on the vehicle, you must also promptly contact the police.

A violation of Florida Statute Violation §316.063(1) is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and jail time of up to 60 days in jail. As an alternative to jail time, the court can also impose up to 6 months probation. Conditions of probation can include paying the fine and court costs, taking a driving course, and/or performing community service.

Florida Statute Violation §316.063(1) violations often involve hitting an unoccupied parked vehicle, although it can also involve other types of unattended property such as a mailbox, gate or fence.

316.063  Duty upon damaging unattended vehicle or other property - Visit the website of the Florida legislature to find the statutory language for a violation of the duty to leave your information after a crash involving damage to unattended property.  


Leaving the Scene of Crash with Attended Property

Florida Statute Section 316.061 prohibits leaving the scene of a crash involving an occupied vehicle or other attended property. Under the statute, you must comply with the reporting requirements of Section 316.062.

The statutory requirements of §316.062 provide that after stopping you must:

  1. give your name, address, vehicle registration number to the other person;
  2. exhibit your driver's license to any person injured in the crash upon request;
  3. give the same information to any law enforcement officer investigating the crash;
  4. render reasonable assistance to any person injured in the crash including carrying the person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary or if it is requested by the injured person.

Like leaving the scene of a crash with unattended vehicle, Section 316.061 is also charged as a second-degree misdemeanor. 


Leaving the Scene of a Crash with Personal Injury (Other than Serious Bodily Injury)

Under Florida Statute §316.027(1)(a), if you are driving a vehicle that crashes into attended property such as an occupied vehicle, then you must stop your vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close to it as possible, immediately after the crash. After stopping you must remain at the scene of the crash until you fulfill the statutory reporting requirements listed in §316.062.

A violation of Florida Statute §316.027(1)(a) for leaving the scene of a crash with personal injury (other than serious bodily injury) can be charged as a third-degree felony with a fine of up to $5000 and up to five years in prison. The offense can be charged regardless of whether you were at fault for the crash or the other person was at fault.


Leaving the Scene of a Crash with Serious Bodily Injury

Florida Statute Section 316.027 prohibits leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury. The term “serious bodily injury” is defined under the statutory scheme as "an injury to a person, including the driver, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ."

The penalties are enhanced if the crash involves a “vulnerable road user.” The term vulnerable road user is defined to include any of the following:

  1. a pedestrian, including a person actually engaged in work upon a highway, or in work upon utility facilities along a highway, or engaged in the provision of emergency services within the right-of-way;
  2. A person operating a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter, or moped lawfully on the roadway;
  3. A person riding an animal; or
  4. A person lawfully operating on a public right-of-way, crosswalk, or shoulder of the roadway:
    • in a wheelchair.
    • in an electric personal assistive mobility device;
    • in a horse-drawn carriage;
    • on a skateboard, roller skates, or in-line skates; or
    • in a farm tractor or similar vehicle designed primarily for farm use;

A violation of the statute requires a revocation of the driver's license for at least 3 years as provided in s. 322.28(4). A person convicted under the statute must also complete a victim's impact panel session or the panel doesn't exist in that judicial circuit then department-approved driver improvement course relating to the rights of vulnerable road users relative to vehicles on the roadway pursuant to 316.027 or a crash involving death or personal injuries as provided in s. 322.0261(2).

As you might expect, this statute does not apply to crashes occurring during a motorsports event, as defined in s. 549.10(1), or at a closed-course motorsport facility, as defined in s. 549.09(1).


Leaving the Scene of a Crash with a Fatality

Florida Statute §316.027(1)(b) requires you to stop your vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close to it as possible, immediately after the crash. After you stop you must remain at the scene of the crash until you fulfill the requirements of §316.062 discussed above. Florida Statute §316.027(1)(b) is charged as a first-degree felony in Florida which is punishable by up to 30 years in Florida State Prison and a $15,000 fine.

You can be charged with the offense regardless of who was at fault. The statute applies whether the person injured as the driver of another vehicle, a passenger in another vehicle, a passenger in your vehicle, a bystander or a pedestrian.


Additional Resources

Florida DHSMV on Hit and Run - Visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to learn more about hit and run. The DHSMV shows that a person who leaves the scene of a crash makes a bad situation worse. The “Bad to Worse” campaign is sponsored by the Florida Highway Patrol and the DHSMV. It aims to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in Florida by educating drivers on their responsibilities if involved in a crash and the consequences they face if they leave a crash scene. The campaign also encourages people with information about an incident of someone leaving the scene of a crash to report the crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers.

Hit and Run in Broward County, FL - Visit the CBS Miami website to find information on a Fatal Hit and Run Crash being investigated by the Broward Sheriff's Office deputies who are looking for drivers in a deadly, and apparently intentional, hit and run crash.

CBS Local News in Miami for “Hit and Run” Accidents - Visit the website for CBS Local News to learn more about driver’s recently charged with crimes for leaving the scene of a crash. Also find videos from surveillance cameras capturing recent crashing involving a driver that flees from the scene.

316.061 Crashes involving damage to vehicle or property - Visit the website of the Florida Senate to read the statutory language prohibiting leaving the scene of a crash with property damage to an occupied vehicle or other attended property.

316.027  Crash involving death or personal injuries - Visit the website of the Florida Legislature to read the statutory language for a violation of the law prohibiting leaving the scene of a crash involving personal injury of a fatality. 


Finding an Attorney in Miami for Hit and Run Crimes

If you were involved in hit and run crash, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for traffic crimes in Miami, to discuss the facts of your case. E.J. Hubbs of Hubbs Law knows the policies and procedures used by local police departments throughout Miami and the surrounding areas of Miami-Dade County including the Miami Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol.

Don't speak to a law enforcement officer until after you have spoken to an attorney at Hubbs Law. E.J. Hubbs can help you understand the charges and potential defenses that might apply in your case. Call (305) 615-5945 today to learn more about hit and run investigations in Miami, FL.


This article was last updated on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. 

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