Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Fort Walton Beach
Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Injury or Death is a felony offense. Most people charged with Hit and Run in Fort Walton Beach are surprised to learn that under Florida law, there is a duty to give information and render aid to anyone who is injured in an accident that you’ve been involved in.
What are the requirements that must be fulfilled after an accident?
Florida Statute 316.062 requires that anyone that has been involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to anyone must provide their name, address, registration number of their vehicle, and their driver’s license. They must also render aid to any person injured in the crash.
There are three levels of Hit and Run charges: Leaving the Scene with Injury, Serious Bodily Injury, or Death.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident—with Injury in Fort Walton Beach
Florida Statute 316.027(2)(a) states that:
“the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash which results in injury to a person other than serious bodily injury shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash, and shall remain at the scene of the crash until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of Statute 316.062. A person who willfully violates this section commits a felony of the third degree.”
Because this offense is a third degree felony, it carries a potential 5 year prison sentence.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident—with Serious Bodily Injury
Florida Statute 316.027(1)(a) defines Serious Bodily Injury as:
“an injury to a person, including the driver, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.”
As a second degree felony, this charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident—with Death in Fort Walton Beach
If you were involved in an accident in Fort Walton Beach where someone died and you failed to remain at the scene to give your information and render aid, you will likely be charged with this offense.
Leaving the Scene with Death is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. One key difference with cases involving a death is that this charge also carries a 4 year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.
Defending Hit and Run Cases in Fort Walton Beach
The facts and circumstances of every case are different but the most common defenses are:
- In Leaving the Scene with Serious Bodily Injury cases, whether the injury is serious enough to be considered serious bodily injury. Not every injury will qualify. For example, I successfully defended one of these cases where the injury was 2 broken legs. After filing a motion to dismiss, the court ruled that the injuries were not serious enough to be considered serious bodily injury.
- In each of the 3 levels of Hit and Run cases in Fort Walton Beach, the prosecutor is required to prove that the suspect willfully committed the crime. This means they must prove that the suspect knew or should have known that the crash occurred AND that an injury or death resulted.
This is where a Fort Walton Beach felony traffic offense attorney with expertise can make all the difference in the outcome. I will carefully examine the police reports and witness statements to determine whether I can raise a credible argument that you didn’t know anyone was injured or had died. Being able to raise this argument puts your case in a much more favorable negotiating position and it also gives you a realistic chance of winning at trial.
Call a Fort Walton Beach Hit and Run Attorney today
If you are facing a Leaving the Scene of an Accident or Hit and Run charge in Fort Walton Beach, call me right away at (850) 243-6097. You are facing prison time and a felony conviction that will follow you for the rest of your life.