Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Florida
Leaving the scene of a car accident, or causing a “hit and run” accident, is a serious crime in Florida. In addition to large fines and potential jail/prison time, a court may revoke or suspend a Florida driver’s license. In other cases, depending on the type of charge, you may even see your insurance premiums increase for many years after the accident if you are convicted of this crime. No one ever expects to have an accident. However, if you are in an accident it is important that you stay at the accident. This article explains what the law requires of you and the consequences of leaving the scene of an accident.
The Duty to Give Information and Render Aid
When a driver has an accident that resulted in any type of damage to property or to another person, then Florida law requires you to stop and exchange information with the other person. This is known as the Duty to Give Information and Render Aid. This duty requires all drivers to:
- Provide Contact Information: if you are in an accident, you should give the other driver your name, address, registration, and show your license if requested.
- Locate the Owner: if you collide with an unattended car, you are required by law to attempt to locate the owner and leave information where the car owner will be able to find it if you are unable to locate the other driver.
- Seek Medical Assistance: if the other person is injured in the collision, then you must give reasonable aid and help ensure that emergency medical assistance is en route.
Failure to remain at the scene of the accident may result in a traffic citation or criminal charges, depending on the type and extent of the damage.
Florida Penalizes Drivers Who Flee the Scene
Florida law addresses the criminal offense of leaving the scene of a crash. Penalties and consequences depend on the extent of property damage and whether anyone was injured in the accident:
- Hit and Run – Property Damage: if you fail to stop and provide information after an accident that results in property damage, then you could face a second degree misdemeanor charge which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and fines up to $500.
- Hit and Run – Bodily Injury: if you fail to stop and exchange information and the accident resulted in someone being injured you will face a third degree felony charges that have a possible 5 year sentence and $5,000 in fines. You will also be required to pay restitution and the court will revoke your driver’s license.
Seek Help from an Attorney
Depending on the damage caused, a hit and run can is a very serious crime with substantial penalties. If you need to defend yourself in criminal court from a hit and run charge, then contact the criminal defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth. We understand the nuisances of the criminal court system and can help you make the best decisions. Please contact us today at 407-377-0150 to schedule a consultation.