Leaving the Scene of an Accident


SHORSTEIN, LASNETSKI, & GIHON
helps people defend against Leaving the Scene accusations

We often get calls from people that have been arrested or cited for leaving the scene of an accident.  Many times, those people didn't even realize that they had been in an accident.  The damage may be so minor that they didn't even realize there was contact or any damage.  Sometimes witnesses obtain the license plate and a vague description of the driver and law enforcement accuse the owner of the vehicle when the driver was actually somebody else.  If you have been accused of leaving the scene of an accident, give us a call.


What is Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage?

Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage is defined in Florida Statute 316.061(1).  In order to prove that you are guilty of leaving the scene of an accident, the State must prove:


1.   You were the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash,

2.   The crash resulted only in damage to a vehicle or other property,

3.   The vehicle or other property was driven or attended by a person,

4.   You failed to stop at the scene of the crash or as close to the crash as possible and remain there until you had given "identifying information" to the driver or occupant of the damaged vehicle or the person attending the damaged vehicle or property and to any police officer at the scene of the crash or who is investigating the crash. 



What is Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Death or Injury?

Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Death or Injury is defined in Florida Statute 316.027(1).  In order to prove that you are guilty of leaving the scene of an accident with death or injury, the State must prove:


1.   You were the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person,

2.  You knew or should have known that you were involved in a crash,

3.   You knew or should have known of the injury to or death of the person,

4.   You willfully failed to stop at the scene of the crash or as close to the crash as possible and remain there until you had given "identifying information" to the injured person, driver or occupant of the damaged vehicle or the person attending the vehicle or property and to any police officer at the scene of the crash or who is investigating the crash, or you willfully failed to render "reasonable assistance" to the injured person if such treatment appeared to be necessary or was requested by the injured person.

If the State proves that you willfully failed to give any part of the "identifying information" or willfully failed to give reasonable assistance, the State satisfies this element of the offense.


What is "identifying information?"

The name, address, vehicle registration number, and if available and requested, the driver's license.

What is "reasonable assistance?"

Carrying or making arrangements to carry the injured person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment.

What is "willfully?"

Intentionally and purposely.


What are the potential consequences of a Leaving the Scene of an Accident conviction?

Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage
Second Degree Misdemeanor - up to 60 days jail
3 year driver's license revocation

Leaving the Scene of an Accident Not Involving Serious Bodily Injury
Third Degree Felony - up to 5 years in prison
3 year driver's license revocation

Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Serious Bodily Injury
Second Degree Felony - up to 15 years in prison
3 year driver's license revocation

Serious Bodily Injury = 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. 

Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Death
First Degree Felony - 4 year minimum mandatory sentence
up to 30 years in prison
3 year driver's license revocation

  • The Judge may go below the 4 year minimum mandatory if you were not driving under the influence and only if the Court finds that a factor, consideration or circumstance clearly demonstrates that the mandatory minimum would be an injustice.

What are the possible defenses to Leaving the Scene of an Accident?

Typically, a person who is charged with leaving the scene of an accident is confronted by law enforcement well after the offense is committed.  The State must prove that it was you who was driving the vehicle.  They also must prove that you knew of should of known that there was a crash and that there was injury.  The word "crash" is misleading.  A portion of a pedestrian could be struck by a motorist without that motorist knowing. There may be a fender bender with minimal or no damage, but the the other driver or occupant claims injury.  People are also often charged for leaving the roadway to seek assistance at a nearby location or for failing to give the required information.  The State must prove that you willfully failed to stop or that your failed to stop "as close as possible."  All of these issues are possible defenses to your leaving the scene case.   Of course, every case is factually different and the defense changes depending on the facts.

If you have been charged with or are being investigated for 
Leaving the Scene of an Accident,

CALL US NOW!

SHORSTEIN, LASNETSKI, & GIHON

904-642-3332 (Jacksonville)
407-228-2019 (Orlando)
Contact Us 24/7 Se habla Español