Orlando Traffic Defense Attorney Assisting Clients Charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident

charged with leaving the scene of an accident in Florida

Leaving the scene of an accident in Florida is a particularly serious charge when it comes to traffic-related offenses.

Even more so if the crash hurt someone or caused property damage.

This is a crime that is commonly referred to as a “hit and run,” and the penalties upon conviction can be severe.

If you are facing charges for leaving the scene of an accident, it is extremely important to have a Florida criminal defense lawyer on your side.

A conviction can result in a misdemeanor or a felony conviction depending upon the specific facts of your case.

You should not have to fight these charges alone.

An advocate at Skubiak & Rivas, P.A. can assist with your defense.

Did you get charged with leaving the scene in Florida?

Contact Skubiak & Rivas today for a free, no-obligation case review.

  • Accepted file types: gif, jpg, jpeg, png, tif, tiff, gif, pdf.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Defining “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” in Florida

Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 316.061 and Fla. Stat. § 316.027) defines a“hit and run” crash, or leaving the scene of an accident as an accident or crash involving:

  • Damage to vehicle or property, or death or personal injuries; and
  • Driver intentionally leaves the scene without providing information required by law. This includes name, insurance documentation, and contact details.

The crime of leaving the scene of an accident in Florida also requires that the driver knew that she or he was involved in an accident. They must also recognize that vehicle or property damage occurred, or that a person suffered injuries in the collision.

Elements of Leaving the Scene of an Accident

In order to be guilty of leaving the scene of an accident in Florida, a prosecutor will need to be able to prove the following elements:

  • Defendant was driving a vehicle involved in an accident that resulted in vehicle damage, property damage, personal injuries, and/or death;
  • Defendant knew (or should have known) that she or he was in an accident;
  • Defendant knew (or should have known) that the accident that resulted in vehicle damage, property damage, personal injuries, and/or death; and
  • Defendant willfully failed to stop at the scene of the accident, and/or willfully failed to remain at the scene of the accident as required by law.
 

Requirements for Anyone Involved in a Motor Vehicle Collision Under Florida Law

We have noted that there are requirements under the Florida Statutes for stopping and remaining at the scene of an accident if your vehicle was in the crash and if any of the following occurred: vehicle damage, property damage, personal injuries, and/or death. But more specifically, what does the law require for anyone who involved in a motor vehicle collision?

Here is what you need to know: were you involved in an accident that resulted in any of the following?

  • Motor vehicle damage (to anyone’s car);
  • Property damage (to anyone’s property);
  • Personal injury; and/or
  • Fatal injury/death.

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then the following are the requirements to avoid a charge of leaving the scene of an accident:

  • Immediately stop your vehicle;
  • Remain at the scene of the accident;
  • Give your identifying information to others involved in the collision, as well as to law enforcement officials at the scene (including your name, your address, your driver’s license, your registration, and your insurance information);
  • Render “reasonable assistance” to anyone who injured in the accident if assistance appears to be necessary or if the person requests assistance; and
  • Report the accident to law enforcement immediately the accident caused any injuries. Provide your identifying information at the time of reporting.
 

Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident

The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident vary depending upon the specific facts of the case. For example, the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident with no injuries and only minor property damage occurred are much less severe than the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in which someone sustained life-threatening or fatal injuries. The following are the different categories of crimes for which a driver can face charges for leaving the scene of a crash:

  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving property or motor vehicle damage;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury, defined as an injury that is life-threatening and/or results in permanent disfigurement or disability; and
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

The following are the penalties for each of the offenses listed above:

  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving property or motor vehicle damage: This is a second-degree misdemeanor offense, which can result in the following penalties
    • Up to 60 days in jail;
    • Up to six months probation; and
    • A fine of up to $500.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury: This is a third-degree felony offense, which can result in the following penalties:
    • Up to 5 years in prison;
    • Up to 5 years probation;
    • A fine of up to $5,000; and
    • The revocation of your driver’s license for at least 3 years.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury: This is a second-degree felony offense, which can result in the following penalties:
    • Up to 15 years in prison;
    • Up to 15 years probation;
    • A fine of up to $10,000; and
    • The revocation of your driver’s license for at least 3 years.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving death: This is a first-degree felony offense, which can result in the following penalties:
    • Up to 30 years in prison;
    • Up to 30 years probation;
    • A fine of up to $10,000; and
    • The revocation of your driver’s license for at least 3 years.

Seek Advice from a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer in Orlando

Are you facing charges for leaving the scene of an accident in Florida? The penalties upon conviction are extremely serious, and you could be facing jail time or a term of imprisonment the court convicts you. Moreover, having a criminal record—even after you have served your sentence—can limit your ability for certain jobs and to obtain other benefits.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer in Florida can help you to fight these charges. Contact Skubiak & Rivas, P.A. to learn more about how we can assist with your case.