Nearly 25% of all car crashes in Florida involve a hit and run. Whether a pedestrian, a fixed object, or another car is hit, if you leave the scene it is considered a hit and run, or leaving the scene of an accident. In Florida, a hit and run is defined as the failure of the driver to remain at the site of a vehicle crash and fulfill the statutory requirements when the crash involves property damage, bodily injury, or death. Under Florida law, leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense. It is important to not flee the scene of a car accident. Hubbs Law in Miami reviews why:
Hit & Run Statutory Requirements
If you are in an accident that results in property damage you are required by Florida law to immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash or as close to as possible.
If the property damage occurred while the other car was unattended, the driver must try to locate the property owner or attach in a secure and conspicuous place a written note providing the driver’s name, address, insurance, and car registration number of the vehicle. The driver must also notify law enforcement of the crash to avoid hit and run allegations.
Bodily Injury or Death
If the result of the accident involves bodily injury or death, the driver must comply with the same statutory requirements as listed above for property damage. Additionally, you also must render “reasonable assistance” to the injured parties if medical treatment is required or call law enforcement to send help to the injured or incapacitated parties.
Hit and Run Penalties in Florida
It is a criminal offense in Florida to leave the scene of the accident. These are the penalties associated with hit and runs that result in property damage, injuries, and fatalities:
Property Damage: Second Degree Misdemeanor with up to 60 days in prison and $500 fine.
Minor Injuries: Third Degree Felony, revoked license for at least 3 years, up to five years in prison and $5000 fine.
Serious Bodily Injuries: Second Degree Felony, revoked license for at least 3 years, up to fifteen years in prison and $10,000 fine.
Fatalities: First Degree Felony, revoked license for at least 3 years, mandatoryminimum of 4 years in prison (up to 30 years in prison), and a $10,000 fine.
For more information, see Florida Statutes 316.061, 316.027 or visit Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle for more details.
What to do if under Investigation for Hit and Run
Generally, individuals find themselves under criminal investigations for hit and run because a witness has identified the suspect or was able to observe identifying information of the vehicle such as a tag number. Police will usually try to follow up by trying to interview the suspect at the last known address on their records. If the suspect cannot be located, the case will generally be referred to the “hit and run” unit of the City of Miami Police Department or Miami-Dade Police Department. This is a critical time to hire a criminal defense attorney as you do not want to incriminate yourself during the investigation and you may have numerous defenses applicable to your case.
Importance of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you, or someone you know, is accused of a hit and run in South Florida, it is extremely important to hire an experienced attorney. The repercussions and consequences are severe if you leave the scene of an accident. At Hubbs Law Firm in Miami, an expert attorney will help you throughout the process to minimize or avoid potential penalties. An attorney will help throughout the investigation phase and can help make contact with the police, represent you during police interviews so incriminating statements cannot be made, and present the facts of an accident in the most favorable light possible.
Contact Hubbs Law Firm at (305) 376-7178 to talk over your options if you have fled the scene of a crash or have been arrested for Hit and Run near Miami.
Please note that by reading this blog you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with Hubbs Law, P.A. This blog only provides general legal information. Every case is unique and you should request a consultation to ensure that you are getting the correct legal advice for your specific case.