On the night of Monday, October 7, a 53-year-old woman was killed while crossing the street close to her home. What is reported is that the driver of a pickup truck could not see her soon enough to stop, and even though he tried to veer away, the truck collided with her. Then he did not stop, but drove on. The woman was soon pronounced dead. The pickup driver later came back to the site of the accident, where investigators were examining the scene. He admitted that he had hit a person, and he was arrested by deputies from the Hillsborough Sherriff's Office and charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death.
Because of tragic stories like these, leaving the scene of an accident is treated as a very serious offense in Florida. Serious penalties can be incurred even if the only result is property damage. By law, if someone is in an accident, they have to provide their name, address, registration, and driver's license to other drivers, and they further have to render aid when necessary, doing what one can to provide medical help.
A hit and run accident that causes property damage would lead to a second degree
misdemeanor charge. If someone leaves the scene of an accident that injures someone, then they could face third degree
felony charges. But if someone dies in a hit and run accident, this is a first degree felony. This would likely mean a minimum sentence of 21 months in prison. The sentence could go up to a 15 years in prison. That person could face 15 years' probation and a fine of up to $10,000.
These are all severe offenses that are sentenced accordingly, but it is possible to defend these charges, especially if you yourself were hurt in the accident and were incapable of rendering aid. If a charge came your way for property damage, you may be able to prove that you honestly did not know that you had hit another car, thus you are not guilty of "willfully" leaving the scene of an accident. To learn more about the defenses available to if you have been charged with leaving the scene of a crash, please do not wait to contact Thomas & Paulk, P.A. Get the dedicated help that you deserve on your side today!