A driver’s duty to give information and render aid is established under Florida Statute § 316.062. Any violation of this statute constitutes the criminal offense of leaving the scene of an accident, more commonly referred to as a “hit and run” crime.
While leaving the scene of a crash resulting in only property damage is a misdemeanor, failure to stop at the scene of an accident causing injury to another person is a felony offense. When the nature of a person’s injuries is considered serious, the alleged offender can face enhanced penalties.
Do you think that you could be under investigation or were you already arrested for allegedly leaving the scene of a crash resulting in serious bodily injury in Palm Beach County? You should exercise your right to remain silent until you are able to contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A..
Our criminal defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale defend clients accused of traffic offenses in communities all over Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Miami-Dade County. Call (561) 557-8686 right now to have our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation.
Florida Statute § 316.027 requires drivers of vehicles involved in crashes occurring on public or private property resulting in injury to a person to immediately stop at the scenes of the crashes or as close thereto as possible and remain at the scenes until they have fulfilled the requirements of Florida Statute § 316.062. Under Florida Statute § 316.027(1)(a), a serious bodily injury is defined as “an injury to a person, including the driver, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.”
If a driver leaves the scene of a crash resulting in serious bodily injury to a person, Florida Statute § 316.027(2)(b) makes the hit and run crime a second-degree felony.
As a second-degree felony, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury is punishable as follows:
Additionally, Florida Statute § 316.027(2)(e) further provides that a person convicted of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury will have his or her driver license revoked for a minimum of three years.
Standard Jury Instructions Criminal Cases | Florida Supreme Court | Chapter 28: Transportation Offenses — Visit this section of the Florida Supreme Court website to access standard jury instructions for criminal cases involving leaving the scene of a crash offenses. Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Death or Injury offenses are covered in Chapter 28.4. You can also find instructions for offenses involving driving under the influence (DUI).
State v. Mancuso, 652 So.2d 370 (Fla.1995) — After the Fourth District Court of Appeal certified the following question to be one of great public importance (In a prosecution for violation of Florida Statute § 316.027, must the state show that the defendant knew or should have known of the injury or death; and the jury be so instructed?), the Supreme Court of Florida answered the question in the affirmative. The Supreme Court stated that it had previously determined that the statute creates only one crime, the felony of "willfully" leaving the scene of an accident involving injury. Thus, “knowledge of the accident is an essential element” of Florida Statute § 316.027, and a person cannot willfully leave an accident without awareness that an accident occurred.
If you were arrested or you believe that you might be under investigation for leaving the scene of a crash that resulted in a person suffering a serious injury, it is in your best interest to immediately seek legal representation. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents individuals in Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach, and many other nearby areas in South Florida.
Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. You can have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (561) 557-8686 or submit an online contact form to receive a free initial consultation.
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