ARRESTED? INVESTIGATED? ARRESTADO? INVESTIGADO?
Leaving the Scene of a Crash
Florida law requires any driver involved in a crash, other than during a motor sports event, in which damage has been done to property, or an injury or death has occurred, to remain at the scene of the crash. The driver is required to provide information to the other driver(s) involved, render assistance where required and report the incident to the police.
Any attempt to leave the scene of a crash without doing any of the above is a serious crime in Florida and is potentially punishable by jail and a fine, or both.
If you have been arrested for leaving the scene of a crash or realize that you may have done so without informing the police and believe that you could soon be arrested, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. You have the right to remain silent and not respond to questions from a law
enforcement officer until you have seen an attorney who can represent your interests. You are not guilty of such a serious offense until it has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you actually knowingly committed the offense.
Every case of leaving the scene of a crash is unique and there are many reasons why your charge can be dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge by a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney.
What is meant by ‘leaving the scene of a crash?’
If you have been involved in a crash on a public highway, then there may be several potential consequences:
The vehicle and /or other property was damaged but there were no people in attendance;
The vehicle and /or other property was damaged and people were involved but were not injured;
People were injured in the crash;
Someone died as a result of the crash.
You are obliged to provide information to another driver in attendance whenever you are involved in a crash. That includes your name, contact details, registration and driver’s license if asked to do so. You are also required by law to render whatever assistance is necessary if someone has been injured, however seriously. You are further required to inform the police as soon as possible.
If you do not do ANY of the above and leave the scene of the crash or accident you could face criminal charges. Even if there is no-one around when the crash takes place, and more than $50 worth of damage is done, you are required to leave a notice informing the owner of what happened and your name, address and registration as above AND inform the police.
If you are arrested for leaving the scene of a crash, you face serious penalties. However, it is your right to be represented by an attorney. Prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were present at a crash scene where property was damaged, and/or someone was injured or killed, that you were aware of the damage and attempted to leave without discharging your responsibilities as described above.
Leaving the scene of a crash can result in jail, fines and suspension or revocation of your license
If you are convicted on a charge of leaving the scene of a crash, penalties will be imposed depending on the exact circumstances. Even leaving the scene of a crash where $100 worth of damage was done can result in a second degree misdemeanor and up to 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fines under Florida statute 316.062.
A similar sentence can be imposed if someone was in the vehicle but not injured. (s. 316.061)
If you are convicted of leaving the scene of a crash where an injury was involved, also called a ‘hit and run’ offense, you may face up to 5 years in jail as this is a felony in the third degreeunder Florida statute s. 316.027. Even more serious is leaving the scene of a crash in which someone has died. This could result in a felony conviction in the first degree under s. 316.027 with a state prison sentence of up to 30 years with a four year minimum mandatory prison term.
An experienced Miami criminal defense attorney can save you from going to jail
There are many ways that a person charged with leaving the scene of a crash can be defended. You are innocent under Florida law until proven guilty ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. Prosecutors may not have the correct information about you or may not have sufficient proof that you knew that a crash had taken place or that you left without providing sufficient information and failed to provide assistance or inform the police.
An experienced Miami criminal defense attorney such as Albert Quirantes who with over 30 years of experience has helped over 8000 clients, can help to get your case dismissed, have the charge reduced to a lesser charge or have the severity of the sentence reduced. call 305-644-1800 for a free no obligation face-to-face consultation with an attorney.