Leaving The Scene of an Accident
The offense of leaving the scene of an accident has seemingly been around since the creation of the automobile. In short, the Florida legislature created a way to penalize and hopefully deter people from being involved in an accident and fleeing the scene without the exchange of personal and insurance information. As such, Florida law enforcement and State Attorney’s Offices in Tampa take very seriously an allegation that you were involved and purposefully fled the scene in order to avoid responsibility. Criminal lawyer Jason Mayberry has on numerous occasions successfully represented those charged with this crime. Our firm has enjoyed great success in preventing both prosecution of our clients and in mitigating any damage they could experience as a result of a plea. If it’s a trial you need, we will work diligently to tell your side of the story as we forge ahead toward acquittal.What is it?
Leaving the scene of an accident is governed under three different statutes applicable to three different scenarios. They are as follows:
--Accident Causing Damage to an Unattended Vehicle or Property--
If you are driving and crash into the vehicle or property of another thereby causing damage, you have an obligation under Florida Statute 316.063 to either find the damaged property’s owner and leave your name, address, and registration number of your vehicle or attach the same information in a conspicuous in or on the damaged vehicle or property. In either situation you are further obligated to notify the nearest duly authorized police authority. Failure to comply with the requirements under this Statute is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in county jail and a $500 fine.
--Accident Causing Damage to an Attended Vehicle or Property--
Like damage to unattended property, Per Florida Statute 316.061 if you crash into an attended vehicle or property of another and cause damage you must remain on the scene of the accident long enough to give your name, address, and registration number of your vehicle to the other person involved who owns the damaged property. Further, if requested you must show your driver’s license to that person or an investigating officer. Failure to comply with this Statute is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in county jail and a $500 fine.
--Accident Causing a Death or Personal Injury to Another--
If you are involved in an accident that causes personal injury to any person you must stop and remain on the scene of the crash. You must give your name, address, and registration number of your vehicle and if requested must provide your driver’s license. In some circumstances you must render reasonable aid to an injured party. If you willfully fail to perform any of the above requirements as dictated by Florida Statute 316.027 you will be charged with a third degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in the Florida Department of Corrections and a $5,000 fine.
Should the accident result in a death, a willful violation of this statute is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in the Florida Department of Corrections and a $10,000 fine and a driver’s license revocation.Defenses
Not every allegation of this offense is legitimate. Our lawyers are intimately familiar with circumstances surrounding this charge. Ultimately there has to be a willful fleeing of the scene. We’ve successfully represented those who have fled out of fear of the other driver, fled because they did not see property damage, or were unaware of injury only to have the other party call the police after our client left the scene. If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, contact a Tampa criminal attorney today at 813-444-7435 for a free consultation.