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Leaving the Scene

All Florida drivers are obligated to do certain actions after an accident involving damage to another vehicle, property or if another person was injured as a result of the incident. Failure to do these duties will result in being charged with leaving the scene of an accident. This means you could be charged with a crime even if the accident wasn’t your fault at all.

Leaving the scene of an accident comes with serious consequences. You could be criminally convicted of a crime and be required to pay expensive fines and spend time in jail or prison. That is why we highly encourage you to retain legal representation to fight off these allegations.

If you or someone you know has been charged with leaving the scene of a crime, we urge you to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. 

Defense Attorney for Hit and Runs in West Palm Beach, FL

When you’ve been charged with a crime you have very little time to prepare for your defense. Because of this, it’s highly recommended you secure legal counsel that has a special focus in traffic crimes and violations to represent you effectively. Our suggestion is you get in contact with the practiced defense lawyers at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. located in the West Palm Beach, FL.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, then contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A. at (561) 500-5000. Your first consultation will be free, and an attorney will sit with you to discuss your available legal options. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. has clients throughout the greater Palm Beach County, St. Lucie County, Martin County and Broward County, Florida area.

Overview of Leaving the Scene in Florida


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What Are My Duties for an Accident Involving Property Damage in Florida?

All drivers in the state of Florida must abide by statues and do certain duties if they have been involved in an accident with property damage. Drivers who struck another vehicle or piece of property must remain at the scene of the crash or as close as possible, must return to, and in every event shall remain at the scene of the crash until they’ve done the following:

  • Give their name, address and registration number of the vehicle;
  • Exhibit their driver’s license or permit to drive to the other person involved;
  • Present all this information to any police officer at the scene of the crash; and
  • If no officer is present or available after the crash, then the driver must report the crash to the nearest office of a duly authorized police authority to make a report or give information to a law enforcement officer

Not reporting the crash to law enforcement is a noncriminal traffic infraction and will be punishable as a nonmoving violation. This will lead to points on your license and if you have accumulated enough points then your license could be suspended as a result.


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FL Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Property Damage

Leaving the scene of an accident when property damage is involved is considered a crime in Florida. If you’re convicted, then you will face a second-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for a second-degree misdemeanor include the following:

  • Up to 60 days in jail;
  • Up to 6 months of probation; and
  • A fine of up to $500

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What Are My Duties for an Accident Involving Injury or Death in Florida?

It’s always a shock and overwhelming when you find that a car accident resulted in serious injury or death of another person. However, if you don’t perform certain duties outlined by Florida law then you could be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. These duties you must perform in case of injury or death include the following: 

  • Stop immediately and call for law enforcement/medical assistance;
  • Render reasonable assistance to the injured or deceased person immediately by administering treatment instructed by a medical professional, presenting them to a medical professional for treatment, making arrangements for transportation, or transportation of the person; and
  • Give their name, address and registration number of the vehicle;
  • Exhibit their driver’s license or permit to drive to the other person involved; and
  • Present all this information to any police officer at the scene of the crash 

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Penalties for Hit and Run Accidents Involving Injury or Death in FL

It’s already a crime to leave the scene of an accident even if the property damage was minimal. When injury, serious injuries or death is involved then the penalties are enhanced heavily. Leaving the scene of an accident involving injury is a third-degree felony, which can lead to: 

  • Up to 5 years in prison;
  • Up to 5 years of probation; and
  • A fine of up to $5,000

If the crime involved serious bodily injury, then you will likely be charged with a second-degree felony. The consequences for a second-degree felony include the following:

  • Up to 15 years in prison;
  • Up to 15 years in probation; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000

The term “serious bodily injury” is any physical injury to a person that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ. 

When death is involved in the accident the consequences for leaving the scene are increased dramatically. Your charge will be upgraded to a first-degree felony, which is punishable by: 

  • Up to 30 years in prison;
  • Up to 30 years in probation; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000

In addition, you will have your driver’s license revoked for at least 3 years by the Florida DHSMV. You won’t be eligible for a hardship license until you’ve completed a 12-hour Advanced Driver Improvement Course.


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Additional Resources 

Hit and Run Awareness – Visit the official website for the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and learn more about hit and runs, the penalties, statistics for cases in the state of Florida and press releases regarding Florida hit and run fatalities.

Duty to Give Information & Render Aid – Visit the official website for the Florida Senate to learn more about your duties after an accident involving property damage or injury/death. Learn what happens if you don’t perform these duties, how it intersects with a person’s right to not self-incriminate themselves and what to do if law enforcement isn’t available. 


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Hit and Run Defense Lawyer in Palm Beach County, FL

If you or someone you know has been arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, then it’s time you get in contact with legal counsel. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. have been practicing traffic cases for years with success. We can assist you by providing an effective defense structure and analyzing the prosecution’s case for holes.

You can set up your first appointment with the hit and run lawyers at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. by calling (561) 500-5000. During your consultation, we will discuss your options and what the next best step for you forward is. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents people throughout the greater West Palm Beach area and other major Florida areas including Fort Lauderdale, Stuart, Jupiter, and Boca Raton.


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Meltzer & Bell, P.A.

Lawrence Meltzer & Steven Bell

Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Super Lawyers Martindale-Hubble
Meltzer & Bell, P.A.
Palm Beach
515 N Flagler Dr #240
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 557-8686
Broward
110 SE 6th St Suite 1749
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
(954) 745-7457
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