Under Florida Statute 316.061, hit and run occurs when:
- Someone is involved in an automobile incident with another person’s vehicle or property, and
- Willfully leaves the scene of the incident without providing his/her name, address, vehicle registration information, and driver's license to the owner of the other vehicle or property.
Regardless if you are the person who caused the accident or the one who was injured, you are required to stay at the scene per Florida law. Some examples of hit and run include: your vehicle hitting a parked car, driving into a building, or striking a bicyclist. If you hit an animal and leave the scene without locating the owner or notifying the authorities, you may also be cited for hit and run because Florida recognizes pets as property.
Consequences of Hit & Run
Depending on the situation, if you are involved in a hit and run accident you may face anything from a misdemeanor to a felony.
For accidents involving damage to property, you may face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine (2nd Degree Misdemeanor). Accidents where a person is injured may result in up to 5 years in prison, as well as a $5,000 fine (3rd Degree Felony). If the hit and run results in death, you may face up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
We all make mistakes, especially when we are under duress. In the case of hit and run situations, you may have a number of defenses available to you, depending on the specific circumstances of your case. These may include:
- Lack of knowledge that an accident took place
- Lack of knowledge that there was impact with a person or property
- Circumstances that dictated your departure from the scene (not willful)
- Fear for your own safety due to the other person becoming belligerent or threatening harm
Hit & Run Help
If you are in jeopardy of being charged with leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run) in Jacksonville, don’t wait for law enforcement officers to locate you. We can help. The Reinhold Law Firm can work on your behalf to reduce potential embarrassing situations, such as an untimely arrest at your place of employment. Located in downtown Jacksonville, Florida, we concentrate exclusively on criminal law cases, such as drug offenses, domestic violence and DUIs. If you have questions regarding your hit and run rights, please contact our office at 904-354-2444 for a free case evaluation.