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Understanding Florida’s Hit and Run Laws

The wanted suspect in a recent hit and run accident case was reportedly located in an unexpected manner. As reported by FOX News, the incident occurred when a driver struck another car, resulting in significant front-end damage to the vehicle. Law enforcement learned the identity of their suspect when her car’s emergency response system automatically contacted authorities to inform them that a collision occurred. The feature, which comes installed in a number of vehicles, reportedly uses mobile phone technology to detect internal changes to the car and contact emergency personnel for assistance.

According to the article, the 57-year-old woman reportedly denied any involvement in a car accident. However, when police went to her home, they reportedly observed damage to her vehicle that matched the details of the accident. Though reports state that she initially claimed to have hit a tree, the woman allegedly admitted to her involvement in the accident and now faces hit and run charges.

Florida’s Hit and Run Laws

Under Florida law, there are several statutes in relation to “hit and run” incidents. The state collectively refers to these accidents as “leaving the scene of an accident” and potential penalties vary greatly depending on the specific circumstances of the event. Florida statute 316.061 defines leaving the scene of an accident as a situation where an individual:

  • Is involved in a vehicle crash involving the property or person of another; and
  • Purposely leaves the scene without providing aid or any identifying information to the other party.

If the other party is not available, the individual must notify law enforcement to report the incident.

In cases where the accident resulted in injury or death to any involved party, the individual must also render reasonable assistance to the injured party, in addition to providing identifying information.

Potential Penalties

For accidents where only property is damaged, leaving the scene is classified as a second degree misdemeanor, with a potential sentence of 60 days in jail and/ or a fine up to $500.

For accidents where a party is injured, leaving the scene is classified as a third degree felony, with a potential penalty of up to five year in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.

For accidents that resulted in death to an involved party, leaving the scene is classified as a first degree felony, with a minimum sentence of 21 months in jail, up to a possible maximum of 30 years.

Defending a Hit and Run Case

When faced with a hit and run accusation, your lawyer may employ a variety of methods to create a viable criminal defense. Knowledge is an essential element to Florida’s hit and run statutes. An experienced lawyer may argue that you were not aware that an accident occurred. He may also assert that you had no knowledge of the damage or resulting injuries.

If you are facing hit and run charges in a Florida court, contact the Miami lawyers Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC at (305) 330-3905 for a free and confidential consultation. Our experienced professionals can provide you with the aggressive defense your case deserves.

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