Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Car accidents are common problems that the American people face every day. Car accidents are very time consuming, costly and usually result in consequences for at least one of the people involved. Especially when property damages are minor, people can be tempted to avoid the hassle of dealing with an accident by leaving the scene. In Florida, 25% of crashes result in hit-and-run, and they have been steadily increasing in frequency since 2012. What they might not realize is that leaving the scene of an accident is illegal, even when there are no personal injuries. This offense is more commonly referred to as a misdemeanor “hit-and-run.” According to Florida law, a misdemeanor hit-and-run is a misdemeanor of the second degree, and it occurs when:
- A person is involved in an accident or crash with another person’s property; such as a vehicle, building, or structure and;
- Willfully leaves the scene of the crash without providing identifying information such as their name, driver’s license, home address or vehicle registration to the owner of the damaged property.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident With Property Damage is punishable by any combination of the following penalties:
- Up to sixty days in jail.
- Up to six months of probation.
- A fine up to $500.
The Fort Lauderdale traffic attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm have over a decade of experience with a plethora of vehicle-related cases and are very familiar with hit-and-run cases. A misdemeanor hit-and-run can usually be resolved in court when a good attorney is on the case. In cases where there are no personal injuries and relatively inexpensive property damage, typically if damages and court costs are paid, our attorneys will urge the State to drop the charges and allow the individuals involved to settle.
Cases that involve bodily injury and/or serious property damage are much more severe. For example, if an individual strikes another person’s car resulting in a neck injury from whiplash and vehicle damage to the injured person’s car and then flees the scene, it becomes a third-degree felony hit-and-run. Felony hit-and-runs are punishable by a combination of the following penalties:
- Up to five years in prison.
- Up to five years probation.
- A fine of up to $5,000.
These cases are much more serious and carry stiffer penalties, so legal representation is a must. The law states that a hit-and-run occurs when a person “willfully” leaves the scene of an accident, so the prosecution must prove that the person was fully aware of the damages before fleeing the scene. Most people are aware in some way when they are involved in a crash, however a good defense attorney can undermine this so long as there is no evidence to support their knowledge of the crash.
The most serious types of hit-and-run cases are those involving death. When a crash is so severe that a person ends up dying because of it, Florida law requires a mandatory minimum of twenty-one months in prison and the addition of any combination of the following penalties:
- Up to thirty years in prison.
- Up to thirty years probation.
- A fine up to $10,000.
Hit-and-run accidents happen all the time, and a good attorney is your best defense against the long arm of the law. The Broward county hit-and-run lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm have handled numerous cases like these before, and know exactly the right steps to defend their clients from the legal aggression of the justice system. Don’t leave your future up to the judge- call The Ansara Law Firm today for quality legal representation in court.
If you or a loved one were recently involved in a hit-and-run incident, call The Ansara Law Firm immediately at (954) 761-4011 for a free consultation.