Florida Hit-and-Run Fatalities Up in 2020
Hit-and-run cases were down last year in Florida, but the number of deaths from those crashes rose by 18%. To reduce these deaths, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles launched a “Stay at the Scene” campaign. The goal is to educate drivers about the dangers of hit-and-run accidents and the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident.
If you left the scene of a car accident, you’ll need the help of a skilled Orlando hit-and-run lawyer. At The Umansky Law Firm, our team of knowledgeable attorneys can investigate your case and aggressively defend you in court.
What to Do Following a Car Accident in Florida
No matter how responsible you may be, leaving the scene will make you guilty of a hit-and-run. If it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road. Check to make sure there are no injuries. Call 911 if either car is inoperable.
If there aren’t injuries or significant property damage, gather information from the driver. You should obtain their name, address, license number, insurance policy, and phone number. Take photos of the accident, including detailed pictures of both vehicles to show any damage. That way, the other driver cannot claim you left when there was significant damage.
Possible Defenses to a Hit-and-Run Case
Defending a hit-and-run charge will depend on the case. There are some defenses your attorney might be able to use to prove your innocence or lower your sentence. These include:
- Responding to an emergency: You might have been in an accident while on your way to the hospital or elsewhere because of an emergency. Driving a woman in labor to the hospital or rushing to your child’s school because they were in an accident are examples.
- Unaware there was any damage: Knowledge of an injury is a vital part of proving a case against you. For example, you and the other driver might leave the scene after not finding any damage, but when the other driver discovers severe damage to their car, they claim you left the scene.
- No knowledge of injury: Similar to not knowing there was damage, your attorney could use this defense if the other driver’s injuries showed up after you both left the scene.
- Involuntary intoxication: Your attorney can use this defense if you believe someone drugged you, resulting in you becoming involuntarily intoxicated and causing a car accident.
Your best bet after any car accident is to call the police to clear the scene. They’ll file a detailed report of any damages and injuries.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Florida
According to Florida Statute 316.061, any driver who causes property damage to another vehicle must immediately pull over. Failure to do so is a second-degree misdemeanor. Penalties include:
- Up to six months probation
- Up to 60 days in jail
- Up to $500 in fines
Leaving the scene of the accident when someone is injured is a third-degree felony. Penalties may include up to five years in prison or up to $5,000 in fines. If someone dies, you face a first-degree felony with up to 30 years in prison or up to a $10,000 fine.
Skilled Hit-and-Run Defense Attorneys in Orlando
If you are being charged with a hit-and-run in Florida, you need to know that hope is not lost. There are defenses the criminal defense attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm can use. Our team has more than 100 years of combined legal experience and will do everything we can to prove your innocence.
As former prosecutors, our attorneys know how the other side will approach the case, and they use this knowledge to create a winning defense strategy. This is a unique advantage many other law firms cannot offer. Ultimately, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance. Let us fight for yours. Call our office or complete a contact form to schedule a free consultation today.