Think Before You Leave

July 27, 2016 Blog

The laws governing hit-and-run collisions have been around about as long as automobiles have been around, allowing auto accident victims to more easily identify perpetrators and bring them to justice. Back in those days, many of the roads were dusty and unmanageable and it wasn’t uncommon for drivers to wear protective goggles, which masked their faces and made identification even more challenging. Don’t forget that to make matters even worse, back in the early days of the automobile, license plates had not yet been created, making it virtually impossible to connect automobiles and drivers.

What Happens When You Leave the Scene of an Accident in Florida?

The State of Florida considers leaving the scene of an accident to be a very serious offense with considerable consequences, including the imposition of fines and consequences to your driving status. If property damage is involved, and you are convicted, you can count on having 6 points added to your driver’s license automatically, making it more challenging and expensive to obtain auto insurance in the future. However, that may be the least of your problems, because leaving the scene of an accident in Florida is treated and prosecuted as a criminal offense.

Misdemeanor Offense

Damaging an Unattended Vehicle or Property. When you are driving and you hit unattended property or an unattended vehicle, such as a parked car, you have an obligation to try to locate the owner of the property. If the owner is nowhere in sight and you have exhausted all efforts of locating the owner, you should leave a note that includes your name, address and registration information. In addition, you are also required BY LAW to contact the police and let them know of the accident and any damage that was caused. If you fail to perform these actions, you could be charged with a Second Degree Misdemeanor.

Accidents Involving Occupied Vehicles or Attended Property. If you crash into a vehicle that is occupied or attended property and as a result you damage that property, you are required to remain at the accident site until all statutory duties have been completed. Statutory duties include the exchange of information such as names, presenting your driver’s license, address and registration and notifying local law enforcement of the accident. If you fail to perform these actions, you could be charged with a Second Degree Misdemeanor.

Both of the above are considered Second Degree Misdemeanors, which can include a fine of up to $500 and a prison sentence of up to 60 days.

The Misdemeanor Clinic is experienced in helping persons charged with misdemeanor criminal and felony traffic offenses.

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