What are Your Duties at the Scene of an Accident?
In Florida, all motorists have specific statutory duties when they are in an accident. Anyone that fails to comply with these statutory duties may face criminal charges that come with serious consequences. It is critical that all drivers in the state understand what their obligations are, and how to avoid being criminally charged.
What Does it Mean to Leave the Scene of a Crash?
When someone leaves the scene of an accident in Florida, it is known as a ‘hit and run.’ All drivers have certain statutory duties when they are involved in an accident and when they do not fulfill these obligations, they can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. These statutory duties apply to any accident that involves damage to someone else’s property, bodily injury, or death.
Under Florida law, all drivers must stop at the scene of an accident when a crash involved damage to someone else’s property. After stopping, drivers must also exchange information with the property owner, or with other people involved in the crash. If a property owner is not present at the scene of an accident that resulted in property damage, the offending driver must leave their name and contact information in an area that is readily visible.
In addition to these requirements, drivers have other statutory duties they must also fulfill.
What Statutory Duties Do Drivers Have?
In accidents that only result in property damage, drivers must only stop and leave their information with the property owner. However, the number of statutory duties a driver has increases significantly when an accident results in injury or death. In these instances, drivers must:
- Stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident.
- Exchange information with all other parties, including their name, address, vehicle registration number, and driver’s license number, if requested.
- Report the accident to law enforcement and provide accurate information when they arrive at the scene.
- Help anyone that has been injured and call for medical help.
When drivers do not comply with the law, they face several penalties.
Penalties for Hit and Runs in Florida
The penalties a person faces if they leave the scene of an accident will depend on the injuries and damage the crash caused. The different penalties are as follows:
- Accidents resulting in injuries: Leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in injuries to another person is a felony of the third degree. Convicted individuals may face up to five years in prison or five years of probation and a maximum $5,000 fine.
- Accidents resulting in death: It is a very serious offense to leave the scene of an accident that resulted in death. Convicted individuals may be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
- Accidents resulting in property damage: While this offense may seem minor, it is a second-degree misdemeanor. Individuals convicted of the crime may face up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $500.
These penalties are serious and will leave you with a permanent criminal record. If you have been charged, it is important to speak to a criminal defense lawyer.
Contact Our Florida Hit and Run Lawyers Today
If you have been charged with a hit and run, do not hesitate to call our Orlando criminal lawyers at O’Mara Law Group today. We know your rights and will ensure they are upheld to help you receive the best result possible. Call us today at (407) 634-6604 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.