Orlando Trial Lawyer Defends Drivers Accused of Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Trustworthy attorney handles “hit and run” cases in Florida
Drivers involved in an accident in Florida have certain legal responsibilities. The first and most basic of these duties is to stop and assess the situation. Someone may be injured and in need of critical assistance, which they may not get if other drivers flee the scene. Florida law imposes stiff penalties on “hit and run” drivers. If you left the scene of an accident, the best course of action is to turn yourself in and to call a criminal defense lawyer. You may have a viable defense or there may be circumstances that weigh in your favor. But the longer you wait, the more serious your situation can become. At The Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.A. in Orlando, you will receive quality legal representation from a proven criminal defense lawyer. Mr. Yates has extensive experience defending traffic crime cases. He is a tenacious advocate who is ready to fight for the best possible outcome.
Statutory duties following an accident that damages property or injures
If you are involved in a Florida collision that results in property damage, you have the duty to:
- Stop your vehicle as close to the scene as safely possible.
- Exchange information with the other driver(s), including your name, address, registration number.
- Show your driver’s license to the other drivers upon request.
- Provide pertinent information to investigating officers.
- Leave a note on damaged property that is unattended, such as a parked car, and immediately notify the police.
If the accident causes injury to a person, you have additional duties that include:
- Rendering “reasonable assistance,” which ranges from first aid to actually transporting the person to a hospital or a doctor
- Reporting the crash to the nearest police authority
Failure to carry out these duties can lead to serious criminal charges. For a crash that causes only property damage, the violation is a second-degree misdemeanor with penalties of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. If the crash causes injuries to another person, the charge becomes a third-degree felony with penalties of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If the accident is fatal to anyone, the offense becomes a first-degree felony with penalties of up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Additionally, if the defendant in a fatal hit-and-run crash was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there is a mandatory minimum prison term of two years. The court will also revoke the license of the convicted driver.
Defenses to leaving the scene of an accident
Many hit-and-runs happen because a driver panicked or wanted to hide the fact they were driving under the influence or without a valid driver's license. However, there are cases where the driver has a valid defense, such as:
- The driver did not know an accident occurred.
- Circumstances prevented the driver from being able to stop.
- Another driver was belligerent or threatening.
There are a number of other scenarios that can excuse a driver’s actions that are outside the letter of the law. Mr. Yates is determined to see you get every benefit of the doubt. He thoroughly investigates your crash to assemble the evidence necessary to present the strongest defense possible.
Contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Orlando for a consultation
The Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.A. defends clients accused of leaving the scene of an accident in Orlando and beyond. For determined representation, call Tad A. Yates at 407-608-7777 or contact the firm online to schedule a consultation.