Leaving the Scene of an Accident / Hit and Run
St. Petersburg Leaving the Scene of an Accident Lawyer
If you have been arrested for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in the Tampa Bay Area, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Pinellas County, Tampa, Hillsborough County, or any of the surrounding counties, contact the Morris Law Firm, P.A. for specific information about defending Leaving the Scene of an Accident cases.
What is Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
A hit and run offense is a serious crime under Florida law and can ultimately result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Although individuals generally do not intend to leave the scene of an accident, it can occur if they did not realize they hit something while driving or they were unsure how to handle the situation.
All drivers in Florida are required by law to remain at the scene of an accident where damage to property or vehicles has occurred, or death or injury to a person has occurred. Anyone involved in the accident must exchange specific personal information before they are permitted to leave the scene.
Florida Law on Leaving the Scene of an Accident:
According to Fla. Stat. § 316.061, an individual involved in an accident resulting in damage to a vehicle or property must stop their vehicle immediately and remain at the scene until they have provided certain identifying information.
Anyone who has been involved in a crash that resulted in death or injury must stop their vehicle immediately and remain at the scene until they have provided certain identifying information, according to Fla. Stat. § 316.027.
In addition to exchanging information, an individual is required to give reasonable assistance to anyone who has been injured due to the accident.
Under Fla. Stat. § 316.062, the following personal identifying information must be provided to anyone else involved an accident that resulted in injury, death or property damage; or to a law enforcement officer:
- Vehicle registration number, and
- Driver’s license information.
Florida Statutes sections 775.082, 775.083, 775.084 and 318.14 lists the penalties and punishments an individual can face if they are convicted of leaving the scene of an accident. The suggested statutory penalties can vary, depending on whether the alleged offender has a previous criminal conviction, the alleged offender was driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of offense, bodily injury occurred from the accident, and whether property damage occurred as a result of the accident.
- If the alleged offender does not exchange identifying information with anyone else involved in the accident or police officers, and the accident did not result in property damage or injury, the offense is punishable as a noncriminal traffic violation or nonmoving violation.
- If the alleged offender leaves the scene of an accident involving property damage, the offense is punishable as a misdemeanor of the second degree. This degree of offense can result in a jail sentence up to 60 days and/or a fine up to $500.
- If the alleged offender willfully leaves the scene of an accident that involves bodily injury, the offense is punishable as a felony of the third degree. This degree of offense can result in a prison sentence up to five years and/or a fine up to $5,000.
- If the alleged offender willfully leaves the scene of an accident that involves death, the offense is punishable as a felony of the first degree. This degree of offense can result in a prison sentence up to 30 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Issues / Potential Defenses:
The prosecution has a high burden of proof to show that an alleged hit and run offender committed every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. This burden is very difficult to meet, as there can be a variety of defenses or mitigating factors that may create doubt in the prosecutor’s case. A few of these defenses and factors can include:
- Constitutional Violations;
- The Offense Was Not Willful;
- Mistaken Identity;
- Insufficient Evidence to Prove the Criminal Charges;
- Law Enforcement Procedural Violations;
- The Alleged Offender Gave Their Identifying Information;
- The Alleged Offender Moved Their Vehicle to Not Block Traffic; and/or
- Failure to Properly Give Miranda Warnings by Law Enforcement.
If you have been accused of leaving the scene of an accident in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, it is important to hire an experienced leaving the scene of an accident lawyer who will make every effort to create the best legal strategy to fight the charges against you.
What To Do Next:
If you have been arrested:
1. Don’t speak to the police – ask to have an attorney present.
2. Don’t give a written statement – again, ask to have a lawyer present.
3. Contact an attorney immediately.
4. Collect and document your own evidence.
Morris Law Firm, P.A. | Tampa Bay Hit and Run Attorney
If you have been arrested for Leaving the Scene of an Accident, contact a St. Petersburg traffic ticket attorney to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case. Call the Morris Law Firm at (727) 388-4736 to discuss your case directly with an attorney, or fill out our online form to be contacted for a Free Initial Consultation. The Morris Law Firm, P.A. can help and has specific knowledge and experience in defending alleged traffic offenders throughout Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Sarasota County, Manatee County, Pasco County and nearby areas.