Do I Need a Defense Attorney if I Fled a Florida Accident?

If you’ve been in a car accident, you know it’s a traumatic event. Regardless of the degree of damage, you may feel overwhelmed, scared, and not sure what to do. When people are in car accidents, they may panic and flee the scene to avoid consequences. 

Leaving the accident scene can only make matters worse, so you’ll want to find a car accident attorney in Florida as soon as possible. 

Is It a Crime to Flee the Scene of the Accident?

Short answer: yes, it is a crime to flee the scene of a car accident.

Florida law states that it is a criminal offense to leave the scene of an automobile accident that caused a personal injury, property damage, or death.

This remains true regardless of the degree of damage or the type of accident. Even if you leave minimal property damage behind, the state could still consider it a hit-and-run if you leave the scene without taking the necessary steps. A hit and run could mean the police charge you with a misdemeanor. 

What If the Accident Wasn’t My Fault?

Unfortunately, even if you weren’t the one engaging in reckless driving, you need to stay put after a car accident. Without sticking around, you won’t have the chance to give your side of the story. You’d also hurt your own chances at a personal injury case. 

Fleeing the scene of an accident makes you look guilty. Even if the accident isn’t your fault, try to stay calm and stay where you are. Consider finding a car accident attorney in Florida to represent you.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

Florida law requires you to stop immediately, or as soon as possible, after a collision. If the owner or operator of the other vehicle is not near the vehicle, do everything you can to contact them. A note on the windshield is an acceptable form of contact. Include your name, address, car registration number, and any other relevant information. 

Once you exchange information, you must notify the local police department of the accident to file a police report. If there are any injuries, the uninjured party is responsible for offering reasonable assistance.

What Potential Penalties Do I Face for Fleeing?

Consequences for leaving the scene of a car accident vary depending on the degree of damage and the context of the accident. 

If you flee a scene where only property damage occurred, the state could charge you with a misdemeanor, and you could face up to 60 days in jail with a $500 fine. 

However, leaving the scene of the accident if the other person is injured is a felony. You also risk losing your driver’s license for three to five years. 

If you leave the scene where a death occurs, you risk losing your license permanently, in addition to up to 30 years of prison time.

Regardless of the damage, if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the accident, you will face a minimum of two years in prison.

Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney

Fleeing the scene of a car accident carries some hefty consequences. If you have fled the scene of an accident, contact a car accident attorney in Florida for advice. Attorney Michael White is a former prosecutor and General Counsel for the Broward County Police Benevolent Association, and he helps car accident victims, even if they have left the scene of the accident.

If you have further questions about your case, contact attorney Michael White in Fort Lauderdale, FL, at (954) 270-0769 for a free consultation today. 

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After several years as a prosecutor and General Counsel for the Broward County Police Benevolence Association (PBA), Michael White started his own practice focused on protecting individuals accused of crimes.

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