Leaving the Scene of an Accident
When drivers in Florida are involved in crashes that cause injury to any person or damage to property, they are required to immediately stop and remain at the scene of the accident in order to fulfill their duty to give information and render aid. Leaving the scene of any automobile accident without satisfying the necessary requirements is a criminal offense that is commonly referred to as “hit and run.”
An alleged offender who is accused of leaving the scene of a crash in Florida could face felony charges and a possible prison sentence as well as a large fine if convicted. Some people can be charged with a hit and run offense even when they did not know they were involved in accidents.Attorney for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Miami-Dade County, FL
If you think that you might be under investigation or you were already arrested in South Florida for an alleged hit and run crime, it is in your best interest to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal counsel. The Hoffman Firm aggressively defends clients accused of criminal traffic offenses in communities all over Miami-Dade County, including Aventura, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Hialeah, North Miami, and several others.
Miami criminal defense lawyer Evan A. Hoffman will work tirelessly to help you achieve the most favorable resolution to your case, including possibly having the criminal charges reduced or dismissed. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (305) 249-0090 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Hit and Run Arrests in North Miami
- What is a driver required to do after being involved in a crash in Florida?
- How can people be punished if convicted of a hit and run offense?
- Where can I learn more about leaving the scene of an accident in Miami-Dade County?
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Charges in Florida
Florida Statute § 316.062 establishes that the driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person or damage to any vehicle or other property which is driven or attended by any person must provide all of the following information:
- His or her name;
- His or her address; and
- Registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving
Upon request and if available, the driver of any vehicle involved in a crash should also exhibit his or her license or permit to drive to any person injured in such crash or to the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle or other property damaged in the crash. Such individuals should also give such information and exhibit such license or permit to any police officer at the scene of the crash or who is investigating the crash as well as render to any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance—including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.
In the event none of the persons specified are in condition to receive information and no police officer is present, the driver of any vehicle involved in such a crash—after fulfilling all other aforementioned requirements as well as those established under Florida Statute § 316.027, insofar as possible on his or her part to be performed—should report the crash to the nearest office of a duly authorized police authority and submit thereto the aforementioned information specified. Violations of Florida Statute § 316.062 are noncriminal traffic infractions, punishable as nonmoving violations.
Under Florida Statute § 316.063, the driver of any vehicle that collides or is involved in a crash with any vehicle or other property that is unattended, resulting in any damage to such other vehicle or property, must immediately stop and either locate and notify the operator or owner of the vehicle or other property of the driver’s name and address and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, or attach securely in a conspicuous place in or on the vehicle or other property a written notice giving the driver’s name and address and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, and shall without unnecessary delay notify the nearest office of a duly authorized police authority. Failure to comply with this statute is a second-degree misdemeanor.
Florida Statute § 316.061 also makes it a second-degree misdemeanor for an alleged offender to leave the scene of a crash involving damage to a vehicle or other property which is driven or attended by any person. Under Florida Statute § 316.027, it is a third-degree felony if a driver leaves the scene of a crash resulting in injury to a person other than serious bodily injury (defined under Florida Statute § 316.027(1)(a) as “an injury to a person, including the driver, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ”), a second-degree felony if a driver leaves the scene of a crash resulting in serious bodily injury to a person, and a first-degree felony if a driver leaves the scene of a crash resulting in the death of a person.
Miami Hit and Run Crash Penalties
The possible sentence that an alleged offender could receive if convicted of leaving the scene of an accident in Florida depends on how the alleged offense is classified. The statutory maximums for hit and run crimes are as follows:
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 60 days in jail and/or fine of up to $500;
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and/or fine of up to $5,000;
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 15 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000; or
- First-Degree Felony — Up to 30 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000.
Drivers of vehicles leaving the scenes of crashes resulting in the death of a person can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of four years in prison. The same mandatory minimum applies to alleged offenders accused of leaving the scenes of accidents resulting in the death of a person that were committed while driving under the influence (DUI) of alcoholic beverages or a controlled substance.
Florida Resources for Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Miami-Dade Police Department | Homicide Bureau — On this section of the Miami-Dade Police Department website, you can learn more about the agency’s Homicide Bureau. The Bureau houses three specialized squads: the Cold Case Squad, the South Florida Homicide Clearinghouse, and the Traffic Homicide Unit (THU), “which investigates all fatal and critical-injury motor vehicle crashes to include hit and run investigations and all County police vehicle collisions.” You can find all kinds of information relating to the THU, including links to statistics and other governmental resources.
Miami-Dade Police Department
9105 NW 25th St.
Doral, FL 33172
(305) 4-POLICE [476-5423]
State v. Dorsett, 158 So. 3d 557, 563 (Fla. 2015) — Zachariah Dorsett was charged with leaving the scene of a crash resulting in an injury under Florida’s hit-and-run statute, and he proposed a jury instruction that required the jury to find as an essential element that he “knew that he was involved in an accident.” The trial judge denied the request and read the standard jury instruction, which provided that the State must prove the defendant “knew or should have known” that he was involved in a crash. On February 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of Florida concluded that “the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver had actual knowledge of the crash, an essential element of the crime of leaving the scene of a crash.”
Were you arrested or do you believe that you could be under investigation for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident in South Florida? Do not say anything to authorities until you have contacted The Hoffman Firm.
Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami who represents individuals in Doral, Homestead, Key Biscayne, Miami, Opa-locka, South Miami, and many surrounding areas of Miami-Dade County. Call (305) 249-0090 or complete an online contact form to have our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.