Our Brandon Criminal Defense Lawyers discuss the charge referenced above and the potential penalties associated with the same. In short, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage could actually result in three charges.
First, one could be charged under Florida Statute 316.036 for damaging an unattended vehicle or other property. This occurs when an individual strikes a parked car, mailbox, etc. Florida Law requires an individual to leave their basic contact information, registration information for their vehicle and contact law enforcement concerning the accident. In short, the old adage of just leaving your name, number and “sorry hitting your car” simply isn’t enough if you do not contact law enforcement. This charge is a second degree misdemeanor resulting in up to sixty (60) days in a county jail and a fine of up to $500.00.
Secondly, an individual can be charged under Florida Statute 316.061 for damaging an occupied vehicle or attended property. Florida law imputes a duty to drivers to remain at the scene of an accident involving an occupied vehicle or attended property and provide their name, registration, address, driver’s license and contact law enforcement. This is also a second degree misdemeanor resulting in up to sixty (60) days in a county jail and a fine of up to $500.00.
Lastly, if an individual leaves the scene of an accident involving death or personal injury, they can be charged under Florida Statute 361.027. Florida law requires a driver in an accident involving death or personal injury to comply with all the duties highlighted above, but also to provide reasonable first aid to the injured party. Ultimately, the question or what is reasonable aid is something that would be decided by a judge or a jury at trial, but at a minimum, one would anticipate basic first aid to constitute reasonable aid. Violations of Florida Statute 361.027 constitutes a third degree felony with a maximum of up to five (5) years in a Florida State Prison and a potential fine of up to $5,000.00, if only personal injury occurred. If a death occurs, it is a first degree felony with a maximum of up to thirty (30) years in a Florida State Prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.
The good news is there are defenses and ways we can help protect you and your rights, if you are accused of leaving the scene of an accident. It is also worth noting that many times restitution is a major issue in these cases due to the property damage and potential personal injury involved in the case. We discuss restitution in criminal cases elsewhere on our blog, we provided a link to that section, here.
If you or someone you know has questions regarding a charge of leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, do not hesitate to contact our Brandon Criminal Defense Lawyers. We will work with you to determine an aggressive strategy to protect your rights and future. We will also work to make sure you are able to keep your license and your insurance rates as low as possible. If you would like to contact one of our Brandon Criminal Defense Lawyers immediately, please use the “contact us now” tab in the upper right hand corner of our website and/or the free chat box in the lower right hand corner of our website. Thanks for taking the time to check out our blog.