Leaving the Scene of an Injury Accident
Each state has enacted its own laws that say when a driver is an accident, he or she must remain at the scene; they cannot drive away, speed off, or otherwise "flee the scene," even if the driver was not technically at-fault.
Under hit and run laws, drivers who are in an accident involving property damage only, and who flee the scene, are penalized under state statutes. But, if a driver is involved in an accident where somebody was hurt and they flee the scene, that driver faces enhanced penalties for their actions.
Under Sec. 316.027 of the Florida Statutes, it's unlawful to get involved in a crash involving personal injuries or death, and NOT remain on the scene. This section is not limited to vehicle-on-vehicle collisions, it includes cars that strike and injure:
- Someone in a horse-drawn carriage
- Someone riding an animal
- Someone on a skateboard, scooter, in-line skates, or a moped
Under Sec. 316.027(2)(a), if a driver is involved in a crash where someone else was injured, the driver must stop their vehicle at the scene of the accident, and follow a specific protocol.
The driver must remain on the scene until they have: 1) exchanged their personal information to the other party of the accident, 2) provided their vehicle registration, 3) render any necessary assistance to the injured, including calling an ambulance, 4) report the crash to the local police, and 5) give information to law enforcement for a police report.
What are the penalties for fleeing?
If a driver is involved in an injury accident and does not fulfill the above requirements, he or she is guilty of a third degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and a fine not to exceed $5,000 under Sec. 775.082 and 775.083 of the Florida Statutes.
Unless you're driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, being involved in an injury accident isn't usually a crime, but driving away from one is.
Unfortunately, people can get nervous and scared when they are in an accident and sometimes their first reaction is to run, but this behavior only sets them up for felony charges.
If you are facing charges for fleeing the scene of an injury accident, I urge you to contact my West Palm Beach criminal defense firm for a free initial consultation. Get a former prosecutor on your side!