Leaving the Scene of an Accident

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles estimates that 25% of all motor vehicle crashes involve someone leaving the scene of the accident. It is a crime to leave the scene of the accident even if no one was injured. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is in your best interest to stay and cooperate with law enforcement. If you do leave the scene, contact a skilled Tampa hit and run attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A. to explore your options and fight any charges against you.

Leaving the scene of an accident occurs when someone is involved in a motor vehicle accident with someone else’s property and leaves the scene without providing insurance or other identifying information. If you do not know the owner of the property involved, you can report the accident to the nearest law enforcement agency.

Leaving the scene of an accident is a much more severe crime if it involves personal injury or death. Florida Statute 316.027 states that anyone involved in a car accident resulting in injury or death must immediately stop, provide their information, and give reasonable assistance to the injured or deceased (i.e. by calling 911 and making transportation arrangements). If for some reason you cannot provide reasonable assistance, you can report the accident to the nearest law enforcement agency.

Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident

There are a few different crimes that fall under the umbrella of leaving the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by 60 days in jail, six months of probation, and associated fines of $500. Leaving the scene of an accident involving injury is a third-degree felony, punishable by five years in prison, five years of probation, and associated fines of up to $5,000. If you are convicted of leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, your driver’s license will be immediately revoked for at least three years. You will not be eligible for a hardship license until you complete a driver improvement course.

Leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury is a second-degree felony, punishable by fifteen years in prison, fifteen years of probation, and fines of up to $10,000. “Serious bodily injury” is defined as any injury that has a substantial risk of death, causes permanent disfigurement, injury, or scarring, or any injury that impairs the function of any organ or part of the body. If you are convicted of this crime, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for at least three years, and you will not be eligible for a hardship license until you complete a driver improvement course.

Leaving the scene of an accident involving death is a first-degree felony, punishable by thirty years in prison, thirty years of probation, and fines of up to $10,000. If it can be proven that the victim died because of delayed medical care due to your leaving the scene, penalties may be increased.

Defenses to Leaving the Scene of an Accident

If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, contact a skilled Tampa hit and run attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A. to start exploring your options for defense. To be convicted of this crime, it must be proven that you had willful knowledge of the accident. If you were involved in an accident so minimal that you did not even notice it occurred, you cannot be convicted of this crime. If you were involved in an accident that rendered you physically incapable of reporting the crime, you cannot face charges for not reporting the incident.

Call Pallegar Law, P.A. Today

If you or someone you know has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, call an aggressive and experienced Tampa hit and run attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A. Call 813-444-3912 for a free consultation.

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