Hit & Run Accidents

Hit and run is a criminal act that occurs when a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident, causes property damage or physical damage to a third party, and then leaves the scene. According to Florida law, when a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident, they should report the accident to law enforcement and also exchange appropriate information with others who were involved in the collision. It is illegal for a person to cause a car accident and then flee a scene.

According to Florida Code §316.027 (2011), it is required of all drivers to stop and stay at the scene of a crash long enough to fulfill all requirements laid out by §316.062. This is defined as the "duty to give information and render aid." If the driver willfully violates this duty, they will be considered to have left the scene of an accident and will be found guilty of a third degree felony, which will include penalties such as imprisonment not exceeding five years and a fine of $5,000.

Charged with a hit and run offense?

If a person leaves the scene of the accident, and does not report the accident, they can be charged with hit and run. Hit and runs can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. Usually, classification will depend upon the person’s criminal history, the extent of property damage caused by the accident, the extent of physical injuries caused by the accident and if the person was under the influence of drugs and or alcohol at the time of the accident. When DUI is involved, additional penalties will likely be assessed.

Once a person has been charged with hit & run, whether it is classified as a misdemeanor or felony, it is usually a wise idea for the person to review his/her legal options with a knowledgeable Tampa criminal defense attorney. Without assistance from an experienced criminal defense lawyer, people stand to face numerous life-altering legal penalties if convicted.

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