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In the state of Florida, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident, see FSS§ 316.061(1) (duty to stop at the scene and comply with the law) and FSS§316.062 (duty to exchange information and render aid). If you have been arrested for a hit and run accident, you need to know your rights and options. The best way to know what these are is by hiring a felony hit and run lawyer in Tampa.
When it comes to hit and run cases, there are many factors that come into play. Based on your circumstances, you may face several different consequences, including thousands of dollars in fines and jail time. If you are charged with a felony hit and run situation in Florida, the consequences of a conviction are even more serious.
You may assume that if you leave an accident scene, a hit and run charge is the same thing as a traffic offense. In Florida, this isn’t the case. When you leave the accident scene (or in the vernacular, commit a hit and run), it will result in criminal charges. This can leave a permanent mark on your driving record, increase your insurance rates, and may result in a license suspension or revocation.
Leaving the scene in a manner not in compliance with the law is rarely a valid action, although there are exceptions and defenses. Whether you see a witness or not, there are too many video cameras in the world today to think something has gone unnoticed or unrecorded. See Syverud v. State, 987 So.2d 1250 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008) (the accident scene travels with the fleeing driver).
If you have been charged with a hit and run accident in Florida, it is recommended that you get in touch with a Tampa hit and run lawyer to learn what the potential hit and run punishment is that you are facing.
Why Choose Us?
Were you charged with a felony hit and run in Florida? If so, our legal team is ready to help. We have worked with clients in situations just like yours and can provide you with the aggressive defense you need and deserve. Being convicted of a felony can impact your life in many ways. Along with facing fines and potential jail time, as a convicted felon, you may have issues securing employment and housing.
With the help of our felony hit and run accident attorneys, you can feel confident that you have someone on your side who is going to fight for your rights and ensure you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. We are your ally and advocate in these situations, and you can count on our legal team to guide you through the entire legal process.
If you are facing a hit and run charge, your liberty and future is at stake, and you deserve a robust defense. Taracks and Associates has a hit and run lawyer in Tampa ready to mount a vigorous defense against the state’s charges and fight to win you a favorable disposition. Call (813) 990-0559 to start working on your defense today.
Understanding Hit and Run Cases in Florida
A hit and run accident occurs if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and then leave right away or talk to the other parties and leave before an exchange of information occurs, or before the requested authorities get to the scene. In these situations, you may be charged with a hit and run.
An example of this situation is if you rear-end or side-swipe another vehicle and don’t stop. Or if you talk to the other driver, they decide to call the police, and you leave the scene before they get there. While these are common examples, they are not the only time that the law will apply.
Based on Florida Statute 316.061, a hit and run, where you leave the scene of an accident without complying with the law, charges will also apply if only property damage is caused. This would be if you hit someone’s fence and then left. In this case, the authorities have the legal right to charge you with a hit and run. Another example would be if you hit a parked vehicle with no one inside and leave. It’s possible to face hit and run charges whether you have an accident with public or private property. Anytime unattended property is damaged and you are unable after due diligence to locate the owner, you should leave a note with your identification and phone number on it. Taking pictures of all damage and the note with your cell phone is a good idea, to show that you acted responsibly.
Potential Penalties for a Florida Hit and Run Charge
If you are convicted of the hit and run charge, the penalties can be significant. The hit and run penalty you will face depends on the specifics of your case. The sentence that you receive is dependent on how severe the accident is, whether someone was injured, the total value of the property damage that occurred, whether insurance was in place to cover the damages, and if restitution has been made. Because of this, it is recommended that you hire an attorney who understands Florida hit and run laws so they can work to help you build a credible defense.
And be aware of State v. Williams, 520 So.2d 276 (Fla. 1988), where the Florida Supreme Court held that a defendant who was convicted of leaving scene of accident with personal injuries was not required to pay, as part of the penalty for the LSOA conviction, restitution to the victim for damages where the damages were caused by the accident, not by the defendant leaving the scene. The court reasoned that the damages arising out of the accident would have occurred with or without the defendant leaving the scene of the accident. Id. at 277.
Misdemeanor Hit and Run Charges in Florida
In some situations, you will face misdemeanor charges for a hit and run situation. Even though this is a lesser charge than a felony hit and run, it may still carry jail time. Because of this, it is not a charge you can take lightly.
You will also be required to pay significant fines, which include the cost of repairs for the damage you caused. In these cases, there’s no question that the costs can be significant.
Felony Hit and Run Charges in Florida
If your hit and run accident results in an injury to someone, you will likely be charged with a felony hit and run. These charges can be punished by up to five years in jail. If the individual dies, then the penalty can be up to 30 years in prison. In this situation, you may also face vehicular homicide or DUI manslaughter charges.
Because of how severe these charges and potential penalties are, it is smart to hire the services of a felony hit and run lawyer. If convicted, you will be a felon for the rest of your life. This can make it difficult to find housing and employment, in addition to raising child custody concerns.
If you are involved in a hit and run accident while your children are in the vehicle, and you have shared custody with their other parent, they may use this incident against you to get full custody of your kids. You may also face charges of neglect, abuse, or even contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In these cases, having the services of an experienced hit and run accident attorney is invaluable. You should never let a mistake like this define you for the rest of your life. The best way to avoid this is by seeking legal services right away.
Also, if you happen to be involved in a hit and run accident while you are committing another crime, like escaping from a burglary, fleeing from an officer, or while driving under the influence, the charges you face will be more severe. Chances are, you will also face much steeper penalties in these situations. It is essential that you find and hire a qualified and experienced hit and run defense attorney to help fight by your side in this situation.
Potential Penalties for a Hit and Run Conviction in Florida
The penalties you face if you are convicted of a hit and run depend on your situation. The most common penalties that you will face include:
If you cause a hit and run resulting in any type of property damage, then you may be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. This charge carries a fine of $500 and a maximum prison sentence of 60 days.
For hit and run accidents that cause injuries, you can face a second-degree felony charge or a third-degree felony charge. The penalties for this include fines of $5,000 and a maximum prison sentence of five years.
You may also have your license revoked for a minimum of three years.
If an accident results in a fatality, then you can face a first-degree felony charge. This charge carries up to 30 years in prison and fines of $10,000. You may have your license revoked for a minimum of three years, as well.
The accident victim may also be able to file a civil lawsuit against you to recover compensation for their injuries and losses.
If you are facing a hit and run charge, your liberty, future, and financial well-being is at stake, and you deserve a robust and proactive defense. Taracks and Associates has a hit and run lawyer in Tampa ready to mount a vigorous defense against the state’s charges and fight to win you a favorable disposition. Call (813) 990-0559 to start working on your defense today.
Potential Defenses Against Florida Hit and Run Charges
The right attorney will explore several potential defenses for hit and run charges in Florida. With the right defense strategy, it will be possible to reduce the charges you are facing or to have them dismissed completely. Some of the potential defenses that can be used include:
- Minimal or No Evidence To be convicted, it’s necessary for the prosecuting attorney to prove that you were the one who caused the accident. They must prove you were driving or controlling the vehicle and that you left the scene. If the prosecuting attorneys cannot prove this, then their efforts may be unsuccessful. In some cases, this is what happens if you allow a friend to borrow your vehicle and leave the scene of an accident without telling you.
- Medical Emergency A possible defense for cases where you are charged with a misdemeanor hit and run and when no one suffered an injury because of the accident is that you were dealing with a medical emergency. An example of when this would be a viable defense is if you were rushing someone to the emergency room because of an injury or life-threatening situation.
- No Knowledge of the Accident You may have a much easier time while you are in court if your defense attorney is able to prove that you were not aware that the accident occurred. For example, you may have clipped the side of a vehicle in an accident or even backed into a mailbox and did not know that this happened. In this case, your attorney can argue that the charges against you should be dropped or dismissed. But be aware of Goodman v. State, 229 So.3d 366 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017), where the court stated that, under DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide statutes, sentencing enhancements for failure to stop and render aid and failure to provide information (i.e.: leaving the scene of the accident) only require that the defendant knew or should have knownof the crash or accident, but do not require state to prove defendant knew or should have known of injury or death of victim.
When it comes to hit and run accidents in Florida, it’s not uncommon to have questions about the situation. Some of the most common questions asked are answered here.
A hit and run can be charged as a felony in the state of Florida if certain circumstances exist in your case, where injury or death is involved. It is best to speak to a Florida attorney about your situation to know your rights and the types of defenses are available and penalties you will face.
If you have caused the death of a person in an accident and leave the scene, you can be charged with a felony hit and run. Whether you face misdemeanor or felony charges depends on the specifics of your case and situation.
In Florida, hit and run offenses may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. As mentioned above, this depends on the circumstances around the accident. If you leave the scene of an accident after just causing property damage, then you will likely be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. However, if you leave the scene of an accident after causing serious harm or death to someone, you will likely be charged with a felony hit and run.
If you hire and retain the services of an experienced hit and run attorney, you may be able to have your charges reduced or even dropped. Even if you are convicted, the help of a skilled attorney may help you face reduced consequences.
These are just a few of the common questions that are asked in a hit and run case. Keep this in mind as you move forward with your case and be sure to hire an experienced defense attorney.
The Top Reasons to Hire Our Legal Team for Help with Your Hit and Run Charges
If you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony hit and run accident, the penalties, personal and financial, to your life, your family, your livelihood, and your future can be severe. Because of this, it is essential that you get in touch with our legal team right away.
When you contact us, we can investigate the charges that you are facing and determine the most viable defense for your situation. We understand that each hit and run case is unique. Because of this, our legal team will establish a custom defense strategy for your situation. When you hire us, you can feel confident that you have a qualified team of legal experts on your side who will fight aggressively for your rights and to have the charges against you dropped.
There’s no reason to try to understand the complex laws related to hit and run accidents on your own. We can answer any questions you have while providing insight into the best way to have the charges against you reduced or dropped. While there are no guarantees when it comes to criminal charges, you can feel confident that with our legal services, you will have an aggressive legal team on your side, fighting for your rights.
If you have questions or concerns, you do not have to be a client to contact our legal team by calling (813) 990-0599. With our help, you can have the best possible defense for your situation, and the best all-around outcome.