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When drivers in Florida are involved in crashes that injure others or damage to property, they are required to stop and remain at the scene of the accident to provide necessary 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 a “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 if they did not know they were involved in the accident.
Were you charged with a hit and run in Miami or Fort Lauderdale? If so, make sure you contact an experienced attorney immediately to protect your rights and your future. Our team at The Hoffman Firm is standing by to help.
Attorney for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Miami, FL
If you think that you might be under investigation or you were already arrested in 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 and Fort Lauderdale.
Our Miami criminal defense lawyer, Evan Hoffman, can work tirelessly to help you achieve the most favorable resolution for your case. If possible, our team can aim to have your criminal charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Our attorney can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (305) 928-1669 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.
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 that is driven or attended by any person, must provide a variety of information.
In short, anyone involved in an accident must provide the following:
- Their legal name;
- Their address; and
- Registration number of the vehicle they were 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 involved in the crash. Such individuals should also give information to any police officer at the scene of the crash.
In the event that none of the applicable parties are able to receive the necessary information and no police officer is present, the driver—after fulfilling all other aforementioned requirements as well as those established under Florida Statute § 316.027— should report the crash to the nearest police station and provide them with the necessary information. Violations of Florida Statute § 316.062 are noncriminal traffic infractions, punishable as nonmoving violations.
Under Florida Statute § 316.063, any driver who collides with an unattended vehicle or property must immediately stop and either locate and notify the owner or attach a written notice giving the driver’s name, address, and the registration number, in a noticeable spot. They should also 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. This is 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”
The crime will be charged as 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 & Run Crash Penalties
The possible sentence for 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 a fine of up to $500;
- Third-Degree Felony: Up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000;
- Second-Degree Felony: Up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000; or
- First-Degree Felony: Up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Drivers who leave the scene of a fatal crash can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of four years in prison. The same mandatory minimum applies to offenders found guilty of leaving the scene of a fatal accident caused by driver intoxication.
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 additional information relating to the THU on their website, including links to statistics and other governmental resources.
- 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 specific jury instruction. This instruction required the jury to find that he “knew that he was involved in an accident” as an essential element. 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.”
Our Miami Hit & Run Defense Lawyer Is Here for You
Were you arrested for a hit and run, or do you believe that you could be under investigation for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident in Florida? Do not say anything to authorities until you have contacted The Hoffman Firm; we may be able to help you fight these serious accusations.
Evan Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney who represents individuals in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. If you need help from a skilled, trustworthy legal professional, our team is prepared to provide you with the comprehensive counsel you need and deserve.
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Florida Former State ProsecutorAttorney Evan Hoffman has extensive knowledge of the strategies used by prosecutors throughout Florida.
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