When you injure another person in a Florida car accident, you are required by law to stop, render aid, and share your insurance details. If you leave the scene without giving the other motorist your information, you could be charged with a hit and run—even if you were unaware you struck another vehicle. Depending on the severity of damages and injuries, you could face felony charges.
Felony Hit and Run Accidents in Florida
Florida has a simple definition for what constitutes a “hit and run.” You may have committed a hit and run if you were involved in an automobile accident and:
- Did not stop
- Left the scene
- Refused to share your vehicle and insurance information with the other motorist
All hit and run incidents carry the possibility of criminal charges. However, these charges vary in severity depending on the extent of damages:
- If the collision only resulted in property damage, you could be found guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor. This may result in fines up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail.
- If someone was injured, you could be found guilty of a third-degree felony. This may result in fines up to $5,000 and up to 5 years in prison.
- If someone suffered serious bodily injuries, such as broken bones or serious burns, you could be found guilty of a second-degree felony. This may result in fines up to $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison.
- If someone died in the accident, you could be found guilty of a first-degree felony. This may result in fines up to $10,000 and up to 30 years in prison.
The Consequences of a Felony Conviction
If you have been charged with a felony hit and run, you face steep financial penalties and years behind bars.
However, prison time is not the only consequence of a felony conviction. Even if the judge or jury does not send you to jail, a felony conviction can have life-changing repercussions:
- You might lose your current job or struggle to find new employment.
- You could be ineligible to work in certain professions, such as law enforcement or health care.
- Your conviction could show up on background checks for apartment rentals.
- You may not be able to join the military, seek higher education, or secure financial aid for your studies.
- You could be liable for any damages you caused if the judge or jury awards restitution.
- You may have to spend years on probation, preventing you from obtaining a passport, traveling without permission, or visiting family members in other states.
- You might lose your right to vote or own a firearm.
How an Attorney Could Help You Beat Your Felony Charges
You do not have to accept a lifetime of limited opportunities. An experienced Florida hit and run attorney could help you escape a conviction or reduce your charges. Flaherty & Merrifield Criminal Defense could show the court that:
- You did not know you hit another vehicle.
- The other driver seemed belligerent, violent, or aggressive, forcing you to flee the scene before calling the police.
- You made another attempt to provide assistance within a reasonable span of time.
- The other driver made a mistake and erroneously identified you as the at-fault motorist.
- You were the only person injured in the crash and should not be charged with a felony.
Even if you do not have a strong or viable defense, you may still be able to evade the stigma of a felony conviction. Flaherty & Merrifield Criminal Defense has spent years representing Florida residents accused of hit and run accidents and other felony traffic violations. We likely already have an established relationship with the person prosecuting your case and may be able to negotiate a more favorable outcome, helping you avoid prison, probation, and a felony criminal record.
Contact an Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one have been charged with a felony hit and run in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 403-6835 for a free consultation.