In 2020, the total number of hit-and-run wrecks dropped 13% over the previous year but hit-and-runs involving fatalities rose by more than 18%. This has prompted statewide concern over the problem. The authorities have even declared February “Hit-and-Run Awareness Month” as part of their “Stay at the Scene” campaign.
No matter what the circumstances of a wreck, it’s far wiser to do what you can to assist the other driver or anybody else who might be injured. Otherwise, you could find yourself in significant legal trouble.
The penalties for hit-and-runs are quite severe
Florida has some of the harshest hit-and-run laws in the country. Here’s what you could face if you drive away from an accident scene and are caught later:
- Property damage only: If you only left a damaged vehicle in your wake, you could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor and face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
- Someone was injured: Leaving a wounded driver behind can get you charged with a second- or third-degree felony. If convicted, your license will be revoked for at least three years and you can serve five years in prison and pay a $5,000 fine.
- Someone died: If someone dies in the wreck (or from their injuries later), you will face a first-degree felony charge. Aside from losing your license and a $10,000 fine, you also face a mandatory minimum of four years in prison and a potential maximum of 30 years behind bars.
If you made a mistake and fled the scene of an accident, we understand that you were probably scared and simply panicked. Contact a criminal defense attorney immediately about your situation.