When a person leaves the scene of an accident in which someone dies without providing their name, address, vehicle registration, and provide reasonable assistance for necessary medical treatment (Fla. Stat. § 316.062), that person is in danger of being convicted of a 1° Felony that is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 30 years. That’s even if he or she didn’t cause the accident, and wasn’t impaired by drugs or alcohol. Fla. Stat. §316.027.
The Florida Legislature has continued to increase the penalties against drivers who leave an accident that results in someone’s death. As a result, people who leave accident scenes involving a fatality face harsher penalties than someone who breaks into your home and steals your jewelry, TV and computers.
In addition to the potential for a 30-year prison sentence, Fla. Stat. §316.027 also provides for the following penalties for not remaining at the scene of a crash that results in the death of a person regardless of who is at fault:
- Mandatory Minimum Prison sentence of 4 years.
No bond status until your First Appearance if there are previous convictions for
- Felony DWLSR
- Misdemeanor Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage
- Racing on the Highway, Reckless Driving
- Restitution for any damages as a condition of any court-ordered supervision,
- Minimum 3-year Driver’s License Revocation,
- Serve 120 hours in a trauma center or hospital, and
- Complete one Victim Impact Panel.
The above mandatory penalties are severe, but as previously mentioned, the prospect of serving 30 years in prison for not staying at the scene of an accident is clearly the most severe of the potential punishment for being involved in a “Hit–n–Run” accident where someone dies.
When facing this severe charge, it is imperative that you contact a Tampa Defense Attorney as soon as possible to decide on how to defend yourself from this severe allegation. The attorneys at Taracks & Associates are very familiar with handling these harsh charges, and have a proven track record of successful results in these emotional accidents.
In Florida, any person who is appearing in front of a Circuit Judge has a sentencing guideline scoresheet prepared by a prosecutor. This guideline scoresheet is a calculation that takes many factors into consideration, and produces a range of numbers that gives the Judge a range of sentences in which to impose.
One of the factors for the Court to decide is whether the 120 points for Victim Injury/Death should be applied. If the act of leaving the person injured has a causal connection to the resulting death, then the Court must apply the 120 Victim Injury/Death points to the guideline scoresheet. This can increase the potential punishment by adding 10 years to the potential minimum sentence for the Judge to impose.
Even if the facts clearly show that the death wasn’t caused by not sticking around at the scene or not calling 911, a prison sentence is still a real probability not to be ignored.
As mentioned earlier, Leaving the Scene of an Accident that results in the death of someone carries a Minimum Mandatory 4-year prison sentence. That means that the person facing this charge must serve everyday of 4 years in prison with no time off for good behavior.
The only way to avoid this harsh result for not causing the death in an accident, is to either prove that it wasn’t you or to prove to the Judge that the imposition of such a sentence would be an injustice.
With the notoriety that these cases routinely hold in the press, judges are not normally inclined to waive this Minimum Mandatory 4-year sentence for someone that a prosecutor will emotionally describe as leaving someone injured on the road to die rather than stop and render assistance.
So how does someone avoid these significant and life altering penalties after they have left the scene? Not by hiding their car, or trying to repair the damage since these types of actions can be considered Tampering with Evidence – a 3° Degree Felony punishable by up to 5 years in Florida State Prison.
By as soon as possible calling one of the experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Taracks & Associates at 813-281-2897. We offer a Free Consultation to discuss how we will use our experience in handling these serious and emotional cases, and decide how to use our knowledge to your defense.