Leaving the Scene Defense Lawyers in Central Florida
Protecting Clients From Criminal Penalties
After a traffic crash, all parties involved are required to stop and exchange information with each other. Information generally includes your driver’s license, address, phone number, and proof of insurance. You must provide this information to the other driver and any law enforcement officer at the scene. If you leave the scene of an accident without providing your information, you can be charged with a criminal offense.
Even if you have not been charged yet, a law enforcement officer will likely show up at your home to question you about leaving the scene of an accident. If you made the mistake of leaving the scene, contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential. Leaving the scene can have serious penalties, including fines, probation, and even jail time.
At The Defense Group, we understand that leaving the scene of an accident was likely a mistake made in the heat of the moment. We are dedicated to protecting our clients from criminal penalties. To receive a free consultation, contact our law firm today by calling 407-743-8430.
How is Leaving the Scene Defined?
Under Florida law, leaving the scene of an accident is also called a hit-and-run accident. Florida statute section 316.061 defines leaving the scene as a driver failing to provide information or render aid. To be charged with leaving the scene, an individual must have been involved in a crash resulting in property damage, injury, or death of another person.
You can face criminal charges if you fail to provide information about yourself to the other driver. Florida law stipulates that you must immediately stop at the accident scene or as near the scene as possible. You can also be charged with leaving the scene if you fail to provide reasonable assistance to an injured person. Reasonable assistance involves transporting an injured person to another location for medical assistance if necessary.
Prosecutors are not required to prove that you caused the crash, only that you were involved in the crash. Even leaving the scene of a crash that was the other person’s fault can result in criminal charges. If you left the scene of an accident, contact a defense lawyer on our team immediately to begin building your defense case.
What Are the Types of Criminal Charges for Leaving the Scene?
Leaving the scene can carry different charges and penalties depending on the circumstances surrounding the crash. Your specific strategy will depend on your charges, so it is helpful to understand the differences between them.
Below are the types of criminal charges you could face for leaving the scene of an accident:
Leaving the Scene With Unattended Property
If an individual hits a parked car and causes more than $50 in damage, they could be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Florida law stipulates that individuals must remain at the scene after striking unattended property when property damage occurs.
Leaving the Scene Involving Damage to Attended Property
Leaving the scene of an accident can occur when an individual hits an occupied vehicle and causes property damage. If the driver of the vehicle involved did not stop and exchange information, they can be charged with a hit-and-run.
Leaving the Scene Involving Personal Injury or Death
Crashes involving serious bodily injury or death carry severe penalties. The law states you must stop your vehicle at the scene and provide information or render aid to any injured person. Leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death can be charged as a third-degree felony.
Leaving the Scene While Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can increase the hit-and-run penalties you are facing. The court can add two years to your jail sentence for leaving the scene involving DUI.
CDL Holders Leaving the Scene
If you have a commercial driver’s license and you leave the scene of an accident, you can be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle. In most cases, you will be unable to operate a commercial vehicle for one year. Subsequent charges can result in a lifetime ban.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident depend on the extent of damage caused and any bodily injury or death. However, there are some common penalties that many offenders often face.
Below are the most common penalties for leaving the scene:
- Paying restitution for any damages or loss
- A driver’s license revocation of three years
- Mandatory victim-impact panel session or advanced driver-improvement course
Certain offenses also carry mandatory jail time. For an accident involving property damage, which is a second-degree misdemeanor, you could face 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. For accidents involving serious bodily injury, which is a second-degree felony, you could face 15 years of prison and a $10,000 fine. For accidents involving death, a first-degree felony, you could face 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Can a Defense Attorney Help Me?
While leaving the scene of an accident might not sound like a serious crime, you could face severe criminal penalties for this offense. Even if you haven’t been charged yet, consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to protect your future and your freedom.
At The Defense Group, our attorneys have extensive experience protecting clients from criminal penalties. We are confident that we can reduce or remove the charges you are facing. For a free consultation, contact us today at 407-743-8430.