The Koger Building
Corner of 9th Street North & Gandy Blvd.
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St. Petersburg, FL 33702
Pinellas County, Florida Hit-and-Run with Injury or Death
Any driver who is involved in an accident that involves death or personal injury is required by Florida law to stop and remain at the scene of the accident until he meets the requirements of Florida Statute Section 316.062. These duties include:
If you “willfully” and “intentionally” leave the scene of an accident on private or public property which results in an injury to a person that is non-serious, you may be arrested and charged with a violation of Florida Statute 316.027(2)(a). This charge is a felony of the third degree and carries a maximum possible penalty of up to five years in state prison and a $5,000.00 fine. There is also a minimum mandatory driver’s license revocation of 3 years, pursuant to Florida Statute 322.28(4)(b).
If you “willfully” and “intentionally” leave the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury you are subject to being arrested and charged with a violation of Florida Statute Section 316.027(2)(b). This charge constitutes a felony of the second degree. If convicted of this criminal offense, the charge carries a state prison sentence of up to 15 years, and a statutory fine of up to $15,000. There is also a minimum mandatory driver’s license revocation of 3 years.
If you “willfully” and “intentionally” leave the scene of an accident involving death you are subject to being arrested and charged with a violation of Florida Statute Section 316.027(2)(c). This charge constitutes a felony of the first degree. If convicted of this criminal offense, the charge carries:
Read more about the impact of a felony conviction.
Penalties for Leaving the scene of an accident or death become further enhanced under Florida Statute Section 316.027(2)(f) if the victim falls under a prescribed list of those considered “vulnerable road users.” This includes, but is not limited to pedestrians and persons working on highways. It also includes those victims who had been riding a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter, moped or horse. Or, someone riding a skateboard or wearing skates. (roller or inline) In addition, a “vulnerable user” contemplates those persons operating an electric personal assistive mobility device or a common wheelchair.
If you believe that the police may be searching for you in connection with a current investigation in Pinellas County for the offense of “leaving the scene of an accident,” we can help. Depending on the unique facts and circumstances of your case we will formulate the appropriate strategy and provide you with our advice and guidance. For example, we may want to intervene on your behalf by:
The Benefits of Taking a Pre-emptive Approach:
Leaving the scene of an accident is a “specific intent” crime. In other words, you cannot be guilty of this offense if you were merely negligent. The “willful” language found in Florida Statute 361.027 places a burden upon the Pinellas County state prosecutor to prove that you knew or should have known that you were involved in an accident that led to bodily injury or death. The attorneys in our office will also want to examine the level of property damage in your case. There are times when minor property damage, coupled with limited interaction with the other driver can support an argument that our client never realized an injury had even occurred. Photographs of your vehicle, can at times, be persuasive. Such a defense, if appropriate, could result in a dismissal of your charge or an amendment a lesser offense.
Being involved in a car crash can be a fear-provoking experience. Your heart rate surges, your blood pressure increases and there is a natural rush of adrenalin. The human body can take on a natural “fight or flight” biological response. This alarming organic stress response can lead a motorist to simply exercise poor choices. It is typically not until much later, after the motorist calms down, that he may better appreciate the fact that he over-reacted and may have aggravated the situation by leaving the scene of the crash.
We may also be able to point to extenuating circumstances or a highly emotional event that impacted your decision making skills at the time of your accident. (Examples include, a recent death or illness of a family member, a break-up in a personal relationship or a recent termination of employment.) Personalizing your unique circumstances can sometimes be a highly effective tactic that can contribute to the best possible outcome.
In addition to pursuing a reduction of your charge to a lesser offense, we can design a strategy in an effort to avoid a formal conviction. Achieving a “withhold of adjudication” would prevent you from becoming a convicted felon. Learn More About Avoiding the Stigma of Being a Convicted Felon.
Where an accident results in a death, Florida Statute Section 316.027(2)(c) provides that a driver who leaves the scene “shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 4 years.” However, legislation that went into effect July 1, 2014, (Florida Statute Section 316.027(2)(g)) enables us to petition the judge in your case to waive the prison term. Your judge has the authority and discretion not impose the four year prison term if we can show that:
Meet with a former State Prosecutor to discuss the particular facts of your case. Our team of criminal defense lawyers can advise you as to the best possible strategy and inform you of your available options. The attorneys in our office are well experienced in the area of defending persons charged with leaving the scene of an accident cases arising out of Pinellas County. This includes all of the surrounding areas of Clearwater and St. Petersburg.