Leaving the Scene of an Accident
It is commonly known as Hit and Run, but no matter how it is charged Leaving the Scene of an Accident is still a Criminal Offense. The consequences range from a second degree misdemeanor that involves up to 60 days jail, all the way up to 30 years prison if there is a death involved. There are various degrees in between, and factors such as injury, whether alcohol is involved, and if there is any damage to property will determine what you can be charged with. If it ONLY involves property damage, then a person still faces a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days jail. If you are convicted, then you also face 6 points on your driving record. Other consequences may include restitution and probation. Oftentimes, I have been able to negotiate these charges to avoid restitution and withhold adjudication so that not only are there then no points, but it avoids a criminal conviction. Further, since these cases often involve mere misunderstandings or mistakes, I have also been able to get rid of the criminal charge altogether and have the charge amended to a NON-CRIMINAL infraction. Even if a charge is not dismissed or amended there may be other legal issues like the accident report privilege which may limit any statements you made to the police. If you believe that you have been or will be charged with this offense, you need to contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. With an attorney present, it may be possible that a case against you cannot be proven since you will be protected from incriminating yourself either through the Accident report privilege or the Constitution itself.Leaving the Scene of an Accident—Felony Charges
Florida is strongly pushing that the penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident whenever there is a person killed or injured should be increased. While the maximum penalty is still very severe, prosecutors are now pushing that penalties be commensurate with charges such as DUI Manslaughter. That means that even if no alcohol may be involved you could now be looking at 10 years minimum in prison. If there is serious bodily injury or death, you are required to stop if you knew or even if you should have known. Stopping requires you to give out certain information including your name, address, and registration. So, if there is an injury, and you don’t leave the required information, you will face up to 5 years prison and up to 30 years prison in cases involving a death, both of them felonies, and both involve long term license suspensions, including permanent revocation. Because of the severe penalties and sanctions involved, it is most important to contact an attorney that will fight these charges and has the experience in minimizing those harsh consequences.
It is critical to contact our office as soon as you think you may be charged or have already been charged with any Leaving the Scene offense. Contact us right away so that my office can use our experience to help you in these unfortunate situations.