Law Enforcement Crackdown on Hit and Runs
Hit and run crashes account for one in four of all collisions in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Hit and runs have been a major issue for law enforcement and policymakers for years now, as there have been around 100,000 hit and runs every year in Florida for the past few years, and the problem is not going away, according to News-Press. To combat hit and runs, the Department of Motor Vehicles has launched the Stay at the Scene campaign this February, which “aims to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in Florida by educating drivers on their responsibilities if involved in a crash and the serious consequences they face” if they flee.
Fines and Criminal Penalties for Hit and Run Collisions
Hit and runs are criminal offenses in some cases, and as such are punished severely. The following is a list of the potential fines, jail time, and license revocation that you may be facing for the hit and run that you have been charged with:
- When only property was damaged: Second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $500;
- When injuries occur: Either a second degree or third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The driver’s license will also be revoked for a minimum of three years; and
- When a fatality occurs: First degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison, a fine of $10,000, and a license revocation of at least three years. Additionally, a mandatory minimum of four years in prison will be applied as per the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act of 2014.
When a driver damages property, they are required to immediately stop and give their name, address, license, and registration to the other party. If the other party is not present, the driver must either find the other party or attach their information to the vehicle and notify law enforcement. When bodily injury occurs, whether the driver was responsible for causing the crash or not, they must immediately stop and provide reasonable assistance, such as taking the other party to the hospital, as well as give their information to the other driver.
Defenses to Hit and Run Offense
In order to be convicted of a hit and run, there is a lot of evidence that must be proven, such as:
1) Whether or not the defendant is the driver in question,
2) Did the defendant know if they hit another vehicle or pedestrian;
3) Did the defendant “flee the scene” or did they simply only stop as soon as they felt it was to do so.
We have successfully defended clients from hit and run charges that they did not commit, either because they were unaware that they had been involved in a crash or they were not the party that law enforcement believed them to be. For experienced criminal defense in West Palm Beach, call the Skier Law Firm today.