DUI is a serious crime on its own. So is leaving the scene of an accident, commonly referred to as “hit and run.” When these two offenses are combined, a driver may face extreme penalties. In addition to prison time that could range from 60 days to 30 years, a person accused of a DUI hit and run offense may have to pay fines, complete a substance abuse program, lose their driver’s license, and perform community service.
Let’s take a closer look at these two charges and how they can relate to one another.
Hit & Run
A hit and run occurs when a driver who is involved in an auto accident that causes property damage or injury does not remain at the scene to render aid and exchange information with the other party or parties. It is against the law to leave without at least exchanging driver and insurance information with the other party unless you are seriously injured and are taken from the scene by emergency personnel.
In Florida, leaving the scene of an accident is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. If someone was killed in the accident, a driver may face hit and run manslaughter charges and 4 to 30 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
DUI & Leaving the Scene of an Accident
If a hit-and-run driver is also under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, additional DUI charges may apply. The defendant may then face penalties for DUI and hit and run.
Just over a week ago, a Florida man was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison for causing the death of one person and serious injury to another in a DUI hit and run. The man was charged with DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. This is just one example of the severe penalties that may be levied against a person accused of leaving the scene of an accident while intoxicated.
A Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Being arrested for DUI is serious enough without adding a hit-and-run charge. It is important to remember that you have the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. Exercise your Miranda rights! Request an attorney and make sure you do not say or do anything that could be used against you in court. Even trying to explain the incident or prove your innocence can backfire, harming your chances at an acquittal, dismissal, or reduced charges.
There are viable defenses to Florida DUI hit-and-run charges, and our Tampa criminal defense lawyers know how to use these to our clients’ benefit. Were you lawfully arrested? Were you read your rights? Was the breath/blood test administered correctly? These are just a few of the questions we’ll consider when building a case. Depending on the evidence at hand and the unique circumstances in play, we will create as strong a defense as possible.
For more information on DUI hit and run in Tampa and how we can help, call (813) 321-7323. Your initial consultation is free!