What are the penalties for DUI and leaving the scene of a car accident with injuries in Florida?

October 1, 2019

Florida DUI Penalties: Leaving the Scene of a Car Accident with Injuries 

In Florida, there are serious penalties in place for those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs—and even harsher penalties exist for those who leave the scene of an accident in which someone else was hurt or killed. Depending on the nature of a victim’s injuries, those who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol and cause accidents may spend decades in prison.

What is Driving Under the Influence in Florida?

Title XXIII, Chapter 316, Florida Statute Section § 316.193(1) Driving under the influence; penalties lists what prosecutors must prove to charge someone with driving under the influence, which is also called DUI for short.

According to Florida law, someone may be charged with driving under the influence if that individual is driving a motor vehicle or is otherwise in actual control of that motor vehicle and, while doing so, is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Florida statute § 316.193(1)(a) states that drivers under the influence of alcoholic drinks, substances regulated by Chapter 893, or substances listed in Florida statute § 877.111 may all be charged with DUI if they are impaired. 

Florida statute § 316.193(1)(b) states that a driver may be convicted of DUI if the individual’s blood alcohol content is greater than 0.08 percent per 100 milliliters of blood.

Florida statute § 316.193(1)(c) adds that a driver may be charged with DUI if the individual’s breath alcohol level is greater than 0.08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

If someone is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Florida and leaves the scene of an accident, that individual may face years of prison time and thousands of dollars in fines. 

The Duties of Florida Drivers after an Accident Occurs  

Florida law imposes specific duties on drivers if they are involved in an accident. All drivers are expected to fulfill these responsibilities in the event of an accident. There are severe punishments in place for those who violate these statutes, with enhanced penalties for those who are driving under the influence.

These duties are laid out in Florida §§ 316.061 – 316.063.

According to Florida § 316.061(1), after an accident that involves damage to property or another vehicle, the driver must stop at the scene of the accident and wait until meeting the obligations of Florida § 316.062.

The obligations of Florida § 316.062(1) state that drivers who are involved in accidents that cause injuries or death (or property damage) are required to provide their names, addresses, and vehicle registration numbers to others involved in the accident. If requested, a driver must also show the other drivers his or her license or permit.

Of course, drivers involved in such accidents must present this information to police officers who are present at the scene of the crash.

Additionally, this section also requires that drivers provide aid to those injured in the crash. This may include transporting the injured individual to a hospital or other medical facility. 

Florida § 316.062(2) adds that, if other individuals involved in the accident are unable to take a driver’s identifying information, and no law enforcement officers are present at the scene of the crash, the driver must report the accident to the closest police department and provide the information required by statute. 

Duties After a Crash Involving Personal Injuries or Death  in Florida

There are additional duties placed on Florida drivers who are involved in an accident that involves personal injuries or death.

DUI Accidents Causing Injuries in Florida

According to Florida § 316.027(2)(a), drivers involved in accidents on either public or private property that cause injuries are required to stop their cars at the scene of the accident and fulfill the obligations laid out in Florida § 316.062

Drivers who intentionally fail to stop and meet the obligations of Florida § 316.062 may be convicted of a third-degree felony.

According to Florida § 775.082 (1)(b)(3)(e), a third-degree felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. In addition, Florida § 775.083(1)(c) states that a fine not to exceed $5,000 may also be ordered.

Accidents Causing Serious Bodily Injury in Florida

However, if the accident causes serious bodily injury, Florida § 316.027(2)(b) requires that the driver immediately stop and wait at the scene of the accident until the obligations of § 316.062 have been met. Those who intentionally fail to meet these obligations or who leave the scene of such an accident may be guilty of a second-degree felony. 

A second-degree felony is punishable by at maximum 15 years in prison, according to § 775.082 (1)(b)(3)(d).  Further, Florida § 775.083(1)(b) states that a fine not to exceed $10,000 is also possible. 

Serious bodily injury is defined in Florida § 316.027(1)(a). These are injuries, including those to a driver, that lead to a significant risk of loss or impairment of a body part or organ, serious disfigurement, or a significant risk of death. For example, loss of limb or serious burns may qualify as serious bodily injuries.

Accidents Causing Death in Florida

Florida § 316.027(2)(c) states that drivers involved in accidents that result in a death must stop at the site of the accident and stay until the requirements of § 316.062 have been met. Someone who intentionally breaks this law may be convicted of a first-degree felony. 

First-degree felonies are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000 (Florida §§ 775.082 (3)(b)(1); 775.083(1)(b)). 

However, Florida § 316.027(2)(c) adds that a minimum of 4 years’ imprisonment must be ordered for a violation of this statute.

Those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs and cause an accident that results in a death will also be sentenced to at least 4 years in prison if they violate this statute.The death of an unborn child is also punishable by the penalties listed above. “Unborn child” is defined in Florida § 775.021(5)(e) and refers to a fetus at any stage of development in the womb.