Hit and Run, Leaving the Scene of an Accident Defense Lawyers in St. Petersburg, Florida
Under Florida law, it is a crime for a driver to be involved in any type of motor vehicle accident and leave that scene without first providing the other motorist with contact information, collision insurance information, and waiting to speak with police officers. In Florida, all motorists are required to stay at the accident scene that they are involved in even if they feel they are not at fault for causing the accident. The Consequences of hit and run are severe in the state of Florida. It doesn't matter how insignificant the accident was. If the driver in a motor vehicle that has been involved in an accident leaves the accident scene without providing contact information, proof of insurance, and speaking to police officers, that driver committed a crime in the state of Florida.
The state of Florida defines "leaving the scene of an accident "or "hit-and-run "as a driver who failed to remain at the scene of an accident and satisfy their legal duties under Florida law when the accident involves bodily injury, property damage, or death.
What are the Punishments and Penalties for leaving the scene of the crime or hit-and-run criminal charges in St. Petersburg, Florida?
In Florida, hit-and-run collisions or severe criminal offenses range in penalties depending on the severity of the accident, fax, and circumstances. When a driver leaves the scene of an accident, he or she will become the subject of a criminal investigation and will be charged with any subsequent criminal offenses related to the collision. After the suspect has been identified, arrested, charged, and processed at the jail, the next step will be a criminal trial. Depending on the outcome of that trial, the suspect will either be convicted of the criminal charge or hear she will be acquitted. Should be accused be found guilty, the penalties and consequences will be severe and lifelong.
Why do some drivers flee an accident scene?
- The following are the most common reasons why drivers flee the scene of an accident:
- The driver was intoxicated.
- The driver did not have a license.
- The driver was driving on a suspended license.
- The driver was committing a crime.
- The driver or passenger was involved in a medical emergency.
- The driver was afraid of getting in trouble.
- Someone inside the car had an outstanding arrest warrant.
- The driver was running from law enforcement.
- The driver did not have insurance.
Of course, none of the aforementioned reasons why drivers flee from accidents is a valid legal defense that will enable them to avoid criminal prosecution and the penalties of an act of hit-and-run. Furthermore, none of these excuses could be used as a defense in a vehicle or manslaughter defense. Hit-and-run or leaving the scene of an accident or serious criminal offenses that will carry a lengthy jail sentence, probation, and hefty legal fines.
And the punishment for drivers who have been convicted of a hit-and-run accident I have been updated upon the passing of a new law called the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act. This act became law back in July of 2014. This criminal statute was named after an individual who was killed in a drunk driving accident. The drunk driver in that instance fled the accident scene and was then later charged and convicted. Back in 2012, if a drunk driver caused an accident that led to another individual's death, the driver would only face two years in prison.
The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act Established a new regulation that required those convicted of hit-and-run manslaughter in Florida to receive a minimum prison sentence of four years. In addition, the driver's Florida license will be revoked, and the driver would be required to take a course relevant to road usage rates of vulnerable road users, otherwise known as pedestrians and motor vehicles.
The penalties for a hit-and-run offense in Saint Petersburg, Florida, are severe. If the defendant is found guilty, here she will receive at least one of the following penalties:
- Expensive fines,
- Jail time,
- Suspension of driver's license.
In addition to those penalties, should the defendant be found guilty of committing hit-and-run, here she may also be sued in civil court, resulting in a jury award of thousands or millions of dollars. Also, a civil lawsuit may be filed regardless of the outcome in the defendant's criminal trial. However, a wrongful death lawsuit would likely have a greater chance of success if the accused was found guilty of a fatal hit-and-run accident in criminal justice court.
According to Florida's criminal statutes 316.061, and 316.027, hit-and-run or leaving the scene of an accident may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the facts and circumstances of the accident. For example, suppose the motor vehicle accident only caused minor property damage, and the driver fled the scene of the accident. In that case, the charge Could be filed as a second-degree misdemeanor. A second-degree misdemeanor in the state of Florida is punished with a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in county jail. If the motor vehicle accident caused a personal injury or death, a driver could face an enhanced criminal charge that would make the offense a felony. Hit-and-run accidents that caused injuries are typically charged with a third-degree felony in the state of Florida. The third-degree felony is charged with a legal fine of up to $5000, five years in prison, and likely probation. A fatal hit and run accident is punished with up to $10,000 in legal fines in a prison sentence of up to 30 years. in cases where the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, the driver will receive a minimum sentence of two years in prison, and their driver's license will be suspended.
Call Musca Law 24/7 For Your Free Case Review
If you or someone you care about is facing a hit-and-run criminal charge in Florida, it is important that he or she discusses the criminal matter with one of our Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys. Our firm's lawyers are among the National Trial Lawyers "Top 100 trial Lawyers." Our attorneys know how to fight for your future, and our record of success speaks for itself. To discuss your case, call 888-484-5057 today.
Address: 111 2nd Ave NE Suite 912, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Hours: Open 24 hours
Phone: (727) 513-8080
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