Let’s say you’re driving to work in a rush because you’re nearly late. In your haste, you accidentally hit another car in an intersection. The collision wasn’t too bad, and you feel confident that neither you nor the other driver suffered any injuries. Because you’re still trying to beat the office clock, you let bygones be bygones and immediately leave the crash scene without discussing anything with the other driver.
If something like this has happened to you, you’ve just committed a hit-and-run. A hit-and-run is a criminal offense in Florida, like in many other U.S. states, and you could face a host of penalties for the violation.
What state law says about hit-and-run crashes
By Florida law, drivers involved in a crash must stop immediately and park their vehicle near the crash scene (if possible). They must stay at the crash scene until they have fulfilled their duty to provide aid and their contact and insurance information to the other driver. Drivers must also provide their information and show their licenses to any police officer investigating the crash.
Failure to accomplish this is a criminal offense, and the corresponding conviction and penalties depend on the severity of the crash.
If you are arrested and charged for hit-and-run in Florida, you could face the following penalties:
- The collision resulted in only property damage: A second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a $500 fine and a maximum 60-day prison sentence.
- The collision resulted in injuries: A second or third-degree felony, punishable by a $5,000 fine and a maximum prison sentence of five years. The authorities can also revoke your license for at least three years.
- The collision resulted in fatalities: A first-degree felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and a maximum 30-year prison sentence. The three-year license revocation penalty also applies.
These penalties are on top of any other surcharges and fees you might face for the offense.
Facing a hit-and-run charge is no joke, and even if the crash resulted in only property damages, you could still be convicted. You should consider challenging the charge in court with the help of a legal professional, especially if you don’t want a conviction on your record.