Leaving the Scene of an Accident

If you are in an accident in the state of Florida what must you do? Do you have to stop? If someone is injured, must you render aid?

Florida Statute Section 316.061 tells us that if you are in an accident where there is property damage, you DO have to immediately stop at the location of the accident or as close as possible. There is an obligation to exchange information as follows:

316.062 Duty to give information and render aid.

(1) The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person or damage to any vehicle or other property which is driven or attended by any person shall give his or her name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, and shall upon request and if available exhibit his or her license or permit to drive, to any person injured in such crash or to the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle or other property damaged in the crash and shall give such information and, upon request, exhibit such license or permit to any police officer at the scene of the crash or who is investigating the crash and shall render to any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.
If the person with whom you have  an accident is injured or killed, you must stop and remain at the accident, and comply with the obligations is 316.062 above but the penalties for failure to do so are ore sever as outlined below.
Please know, the failure to stop and comply with the laws above will subject you to criminal penalties. If you are found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, the offense is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail. If you leave the scene of an accident with bodily injury or death,  there are various levels of severity. Depending on the level of injury to the other person, the charge will range from a third degree felony (maximum 5 years in prison) up to a first degree felony  – when there is a death and certain criminal history (up to 30 years in prison and no less than 4).
In SWFL, can you be convicted for both Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage and Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Injury or Death?
No, on March 29, 2019 the Second District Court of Appeals ruled that you cannot be convicted for both. The Court determined that to convict a person on both counts amounted to inconsistent verdicts. They reasoned that the language of the lessor charge (Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage) states that someone can only be guilty of this offense if the only damage was property damage. Linen v. State, Case No. 2D16-3691

 


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