With its urban sprawl and busy highways, Tampa is known for dangerous traffic and deadly car crashes. When a Tampa driver is involved in a crash that results in injury or even death, they can only make things worse by leaving the scene before police and emergency services have arrived.
Below, a felony defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm discusses the prevalence of hit-and-run crashes in Florida and the penalties for committing this crime. If you are ever involved in a crash, take a moment to consider your next actions before they lead to a felony conviction.
In Tampa, there were a staggering 402,385 crashes in 2017. Of those, about 25 percent involved a hit and run. 25 percent. That’s incredible, so incredible, in fact, that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles began a Stay at the Scene Campaign to educate drivers and try to reduce the number of hit-and-run crashes in Florida. As part of this campaign, visitors to their site are encouraged to review active hit-and-run cases and report any information they may have to Crime Stoppers. If you were involved in a hit-and-run crash and believe that you’ve gotten away scott-free, you may be mistaken.
The penalties for leaving the scene of a crash vary, depending on the severity of the crash. Leaving the scene of a crash that resulted in only property damage is a second-degree misdemeanor and punishable by up to 60 days in prison and a $500 fine. However, there is rarely a crash that does not result in injury.
Leaving the scene of a crash that has resulted in an injury is a second-degree felony — a third-degree felony in the event of serious injury. If convicted of a second- or third-degree felony, you could lose your license for three years, receive a five-year prison sentence, and be fined up to $5,000. These penalties are steep, but they are nothing compared to the penalties for a fatal hit and run.
For leaving the scene of a crash that resulted in a person’s death, your life can be forever altered. A fatal hit and run is a first-degree felony and punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If convicted, the mandatory minimum prison sentence is four years. For good measure, you will also lose your license for three years.
Never leave the scene of a serious crash before calling for police or emergency services. Not only could you be saving a life, but you can also avoid being charged with a felony hit and run. However, if you have been involved in a hit and run that resulted in serious injury or death, you must not hesitate. Contact a felony defense attorney in Tampa from The Rickman Law Firm who can review the specifics of your case and begin building a defense.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.