I’ve Been Accused of a Hit and Run in Florida
If you’ve been involved in a car accident within the state of Florida, you have a duty to stay and deal with the consequences. Your duty may extend to rendering aid – helping someone who is hurt or is in danger of being hurt – and providing information – such as your name as well as contact, vehicle, and insurance information. If you don’t, you may be arrested for a hit and run.
Direct consequences of a fleeing the scene conviction include fines, jail time, loss of driver’s license, and increased insurance premiums. Other potential consequences include loss of employment, stress, bankruptcy, difficulty with family and other personal relationships, and trouble renting an apartment or getting a job.
Why Some People Flee the Scene of An Accident
Leaving the scene of a car accident is never good; however, it does happen.
Regardless of what else is going on in your life you do have a legal duty to stop and render aid and information. When you don’t, you’ve likely broken the law and can be arrested for fleeing the scene.
- Some folks panic when involved in a car crash, even if the accident wasn’t their fault. Perhaps they’ve been drinking, are uninsured, borrowed a car without permission, are in the middle of some personal upset, or just plain freak out.
- In addition, many folks don’t realize that if they cause property damage, but the owner is not available (e.g. an unattended vehicle), they have a duty to locate the owner. And, if that is not possible, they must leave contact and insurance information for the driver in a conspicuous place. Most folks leave a note on the windshield secured by the wiper blades.
Florida’s Punishments for Hit and Run Drivers
Criminal penalties for fleeing the scene do vary depending on the circumstances.
- A hit and run causing only property damage is a 2nd degree misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine as well as up to 60 days in a county jail and/or 6 months probation.
- If someone has been injured in the crash, leaving the scene is a 3rd degree felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in a Florida state prison and a $5,000 fine.
- If someone has been killed in the car crash and you flee, you may have committed a 1st degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
There are Defenses; Where to Get Help if You are Accused of a Hit and Run in Florida