Recently, Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reported that there were 600,185 hit-and-run crashes in the state between 2015 and 2020. The number of drivers who left the scene after hitting a pedestrian rose by more than 18%.
Hit-and-run accidents are becoming such an issue in Florida that it has law enforcement across the state scrambling to come up with a solution. FLHSMV even launched a marketing campaign pleading drivers not to leave the scene of a crash.
What Are the Consequences for Fleeing the Scene of an Accident in Florida?
Florida law requires all drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident to stop, provide their contact and insurance information to the other driver(s), and wait for the police to arrive. Regardless of how minor you think the accident was, fleeing the scene could result in serious penalties such as:
- Up to 30 years in prison
- A $10,000 fine
- Convicted felon status
- Driver’s license suspension
- Completion of a driver’s education course
On July 1, 2014, the punishment for hit-and-run charges was altered when the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act was signed into law. Aaron Cohen, whom the statute is named after, was a 31-year-old father, cyclist, and Floridian that was struck and killed by a drunk driver who fled the scene in February 2012. The driver was sentenced to two years in prison—less time than he would have served if he stayed at the scene and gotten a DUI manslaughter charge.
The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act now ensures that drivers who leave the scene of a fatal accident will face a minimum of four years in prison. The driver will also need to take a driver education course and will have their license revoked.
Choosing to leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident could also wind up earning you a lawsuit. Should you be found guilty for a hit-and-run, you could be sued in civil court resulting in a civil judgment of thousands, or even millions, of dollars. Civil actions can be filed regardless of whether a guilty verdict was reached, but the success rate is much lower if the defendant was found to be not guilty in criminal justice court.
Need an Experienced West Palm Beach Hit-and-Run Attorney to Defend You?
Leaving the scene of a crash is a serious offense that requires experienced legal defense. Don’t face harsh penalties for leaving the scene of an accident alone. Attorney Brian Gabriel has defended numerous clients with their hit-and-run cases in the West Palm Beach and Jupiter areas and can guide you through the entire legal process. He knows that your reputation and future are riding on the outcome of your case and will do everything he can to fight for your best interests in court.
The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel specializes in all criminal defense matters, from hit-and-run offenses to domestic violence to sex crimes and every other criminal matter. Protect yourself and your future by contacting Brian Gabriel today. Call (561) 622-5575 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free consultation for your Florida hit-and-run.