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Leaving the Scene

Lawyer for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in South Florida

A misunderstanding or moment of panic after an accident could lead to a hasty decision and a charge of leaving the scene of an accident. The policy behind Florida’s leaving the scene statute is to ensure that anyone injured as a result of a crash receives medical assistance as quickly as possible. The “hit and run” statute also recognizes the importance of remaining at the scene so the crash can be promptly investigated.

The statute imposes result-driven penalties that increase dramatically depending on the harm caused by the accident. That harm can include property damage, injury or death. The penalties range from a second-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree felony.

Hit and Run Attorney in Palm Beach County

If you were cited with any version of leaving the scene (often called “Hit and Run”) then contact a criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A., “The Traffic Stop,” in West Palm Beach, FL. We represent clients throughout Palm Beach County and Broward County, including Delray Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Belle Glade and Royal Palm Beach.

Call (561) 557-8686 today.

Overview of Leaving the Scene Charges

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Duty to Remain at the Scene After a Vehicle Crash

Florida Statute Section 316.062 required the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash resulting in property damage, injury or death to provide information necessary for an insurance claim such as the driver’s name, address, vehicle registration number, and license. The statute also creates an affirmative duty that requires the driver to render reasonable assistance, including arranging for medical treatment to any person injured in the accident, if necessary.

Therefore, under the statute, the driver must do the following:
Stop at the scene of crash (or as close as possible);
Give the following information as required in Section 316.062:

  • the driver’s name;
  • the driver’s address; and
  • the registration number of the vehicle

Upon request, the driver shall exhibit his driver’s license to the other driver or another person attending to property involved in the crash or a police officer at the scene.

The statute provides that every stop must be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. If a damaged vehicle is obstructing traffic, the driver of such vehicle must make every reasonable effort to move the vehicle or have it moved so as not to obstruct the regular flow of traffic. §§ 316.027(3), 316.061(2), Fla. Stat.

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Leaving the Scene of a Crash With Property Damage

Florida Statute Section 316.061 applied to any driver of a vehicle involved in a crash when that crash resulting in damage to an occupied vehicle or other attended property. A violation of this statute is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine and up to 6 months in jail. § 316.027(1), Fla. Stat., referring to § 316.062, Fla. Stat.

This offense most often involves a crash between two occupied vehicles. Hitting an empty parked vehicle would not be sufficient under the statute. See Colbert v. State, 49 So. 3d 819 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 4th Dist. 2010).

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Leaving the Scene of a Crash With Injury

If the driver of a vehicle is involved in a traffic crash that results in a bodily injury to another person in Fort Lauderdale, the driver must immediately stop at the scene of the crash of as close by as possible. The driver must also remain at the scene of the crash until he or she has rendered aid. § 316.027(1), Fla. Stat. and § 316.062, Fla. Stat.

This provision applies to serious or non-serious bodily injury. If a person willfully violates this statute he or she a felony of the third degree punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. § 316.027(1), Fla. Stat. and §§ 775.082 to 775.084, Fla. Stat.

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Leaving the Scene of a Crash That Results in Death

Leaving the scene of a crash that results in death in violation of section 316.027(1)(b), Florida Statutes (2010). Section 316.027(1) provides in pertinent part:

(b) The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash … that results in the death of any person must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close thereto as possible, and must remain at the scene of the crash until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of s. 316.062. Any person who willfully violates this paragraph commits a felony of the first degree….

In at least one case, the court found that a person was “involved in a crash,” and could be charged with leaving the scene of a crash resulting in the death of a person, even though such person’s car did not crash, where it was such person’s driving that caused the events that led up to the crash. State v. Elder, 975 So. 2d 481 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 2007), review denied, 970 So. 2d 342 (Fla. 2007).

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Finding an Attorney for Hit and Run Cases in Fort Lauderdale

You don’t have to take on the serious consequences of a hit and run incident alone. Let us use our extensive experience with traffic offenses to guide you through each step of the process ahead with confidence and determination.

We are proud to take on challenging cases from across the cities of Palm Beach County and Broward County, including West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, and Hollywood.

This article was last updated on Monday, November 1, 2016.

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