Hit and Run / Leaving the Scene
All drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents in Florida are required by state law to stop and take certain actions. When a person allegedly leaves the scene of a crash without exchanging personal information or rendering aid to injured parties, it is often referred to as a “hit and run” accident.
Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors take hit and run charges very seriously, and leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense that can possibly result in felony charges. In some cases, alleged offenders were genuinely unaware that crashes occurred, and some people in other circumstances may have been unable to stop because of unique circumstances.
Attorney for Hit and Run Arrests in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Were you arrested or do you think that you could be under investigation for allegedly leaving the scene of a traffic crash in Broward County? Do not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Contact Meltzer & Bell as soon as possible.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell represent clients charged with all kinds of criminal and non-criminal traffic violations in Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Davie, Plantation, Fort Lauderdale, and many surrounding areas of South Florida. Call (954) 765-6585 right now to have our attorneys review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation.
Broward County Leaving the Scene of an Accident Information Center
- What does Florida state law require drivers to do after crashes?
- How long can an alleged offender be sentenced to prison if convicted?
- Where can I learn more about hit and run / leaving the scene in Broward County?
Under Florida Statute § 316.062(1), the driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person or damage to any vehicle or other property that is driven or attended by any person must do all of the following:
- Give his or her name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving;
- Upon request and if available, exhibit his or her license or permit to drive to any person injured in such crash or to the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle or other property damaged in the crash;
- Upon request, exhibit such license or permit to any police officer at the scene of the crash or who is investigating the crash; and
- Render to any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.
Florida Statute § 316.062(2) establishes that in the event none of the persons specified are in condition to receive information and no police officer is present, the driver of any vehicle involved in such a crash should report the crash to the nearest office of a duly authorized police authority and submit thereto the aforementioned information specified after fulfilling all aforementioned requirements as well as those established under Florida Statute § 316.027, insofar as possible on his or her part to be performed. A violation of Florida Statute § 316.062 is considered a noncriminal traffic infraction punishable as a nonmoving violation.
When a driver of any vehicle collides or is involved in a crash with any vehicle or other property that is unattended, resulting in any damage to such other vehicle or property, Florida Statute § 316.063 requires him or her to immediately stop and either locate and notify the operator or owner of the vehicle or other property of the driver’s name and address and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, or attach securely in a conspicuous place in or on the vehicle or other property a written notice giving the driver’s name and address and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving. Such drivers must also without unnecessary delay notify the nearest office of a duly authorized police authority, and violations of this statute are second-degree misdemeanor offenses.
Under Florida Statute § 316.061, it is a second-degree misdemeanor if a person leaves the scene of an accident involving damage to a vehicle or other property that is driven or attended by any person. Florida Statute § 316.027 establishes the following classifications for alleged hit and run offenses resulting in bodily injury (serious bodily injury is defined under Florida Statute § 316.027(1)(a) 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”):
- Injury to a person other than serious bodily injury — Third-degree felony;
- Serious bodily injury — Second-degree felony; or
- Death — First-degree felony.
In order for a prosecutor to convict an alleged offender of leaving the scene of a crash in Florida, he or she must prove the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The alleged offender was the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person, or resulting in property damage to another person;
- The alleged offender knew or should have known that he or she was involved in a crash;
- The alleged offender knew or should have known of the injury to or death of the other person, or of the property damage caused to another;
- Either the alleged offender willfully failed to stop at the scene of the crash, or as close to the crash as possible, and failed to remain there until he or she had given identifying information to the other driver, occupant, person attending vehicle, or investigating police officer; or the alleged offender failed to render “reasonable assistance” to the injured person if such treatment appeared to be necessary or was requested by the injured person.
Convictions for hit and run can result in any of the following sentences, depending on the classification of the offense:
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 60 days in jail and/or fine of up to $500;
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and/or fine of up to $5,000;
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 15 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000; or
- First-Degree Felony — Up to 30 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000.
Fort Lauderdale Police Department (FLPD) | Criminal Investigation Division — The Criminal Investigation Division of the FLPD provides investigative follow-up for a number of crimes. On this section of the FLPD website, you can learn more about the Homicide Unit and Forensic Unit, both of which handle accidental and suspicious deaths. You can also find information about the Street Crimes Division of the Investigative Bureau.Fort Lauderdale Police Department
1300 W. Broward Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Crime Scene Unit | Broward Sheriff’s Office — Visit this section of the Broward Sheriff’s Office website to learn more about the agency’s Crime Scene Unit. Crime Scene Unit detectives are responsible for the documentation of major crime scenes including suspicious deaths. You can learn more about the types of equipment utilized by Crime Scene Unit detectives, required training, and areas served by the unit.Broward Sheriff’s Office
2601 W. Broward Blvd.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312
Meltzer & Bell | Fort Lauderdale Hit and Run Defense Lawyer
If you believe that you might be under investigation or you were already arrested for allegedly leaving the scene of a crash in South Florida, it is in your best interest to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal representation. Meltzer & Bell defends individuals all over the greater Broward County area, including Deerfield Beach, Weston, Tamarac, Margate, Coconut Creek, Hallandale Beach, Wilton Manors, Sunrise, and several other nearby communities.
Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale who can investigate your collision and work tirelessly to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. They can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (954) 765-6585 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.