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What Evidence Is Needed to Convict a Hit-and-Run in Florida?

Home » Blog » What Evidence Is Needed to Convict a Hit-and-Run in Florida?

by | Sep 14, 2023 | Hit and Run

Data from AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety found that Florida has one of the highest rates of hit-and-run accidents in the country.

Being in an accident is traumatizing enough, let alone an accident where the offender flees. If you’re the victim of this crime, you must know how to fight for your rights and get justice.

First, you must learn what evidence is needed to convict a hit-and-run in Florida. Keep reading to find out.

What Is a Hit-and-Run?

A hit-and-run car accident is when a motor vehicle accident results in property damage, bodily injury, or death, and the driver involved leaves the scene of the accident.

Under Florida Statute 316.062, it is illegal to leave the scene of an auto accident without exchanging contact information. If there is an injured person, the law also requires you to help them by providing reasonable assistance.

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run or witness the scene of an accident, immediately contact law enforcement. Time is of the essence to catch the offender.

How to Prove Your Case

Disclaimer: Although we will discuss how to prove your hit-and-run case, this article is not formal legal advice. It’s always best to contact a reckless driving lawyer for assistance with your lawsuit. 

To convict a Florida motorist of hit and run, you must show the following:

  • The defendant drove a vehicle, and a crash happened
  • The crash caused property damage, bodily injury, or death
  • For property damage, the driver did not stop and provide their personal information, such as their name, address, car registration number, and insurance details
  • For bodily injury or death, the driver didn’t try to provide medical assistance
  • The court hearing the case has the jurisdiction to do so

Where Can a Victim Find the Necessary Evidence to Prove the Case?

To prove the elements listed above, you should collect the following hit-and-run evidence:

  • Documentation of medical conditions caused by the accident and medical treatments prescribed by doctors
  • Pictures and videos – either those you take yourself or that you obtain from witnesses or public cameras
  • Police report
  • Witness testimonials

It’s also best to have the offender’s license plate number. Look for witnesses who may have written down the number or security cameras that captured the vehicle on video. Police officers should be able to help you obtain evidence from public cameras.

If you’re unsure how to start collecting evidence or feel overwhelmed with the task, a hit-and-run lawyer can help you.

What Are the Laws for Hit-and-Run in Florida?

The state of Florida has several laws that pertain to hit-and-run accidents. Let’s review them for better understanding.

What Is a Serious Injury for Florida Hit-and-Run Laws?

Under Florida law, serious bodily injury involves one of the following circumstances:

  • A condition with a substantial risk of death
  • Impairment or protracted loss of the function of a bodily member (body part or organ)
  • Serious personal disfigurement

Penalties for Criminal Hit-and-Run in Florida

Hit-and-run charges vary depending on the severity and circumstances of the accident. Two primary Florida laws detail the penalties for hit-and-run drivers.

Florida Statute 316.061 states that the penalty for a hit-and-run accident that only results in property damage is a second-degree misdemeanor. The punishment is up to 60 days of jail time and a maximum fine of $500. However, the offender must also pay for the victim’s property damages.

If there is an injury or death, the offender is no longer facing a misdemeanor hit and run but a felony hit and run.

Under Florida Statute 316.027, a hit-and-run accident that results in injury is a third-degree felony. It is punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years and a maximum fine of $5,000.

However, an accident that results in serious injury is a second-degree felony. The penalty is imprisonment of up to 15 years and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Additionally, if the hit-and-run offender was driving under the influence, there is a two-year mandatory minimum sentence.

A hit-and-run that results in a fatality is a first-degree felony. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison (the same as the compulsory minimum for DUI manslaughter) and a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.

If convicted of a felony hit-and-run, the state will also revoke your driver’s license for at least three years.

Because of the steep penalties, it’s in your best interest to hire a criminal defense lawyer for assistance if you have committed a hit-and-run.

Can a Hit-and-Run Be a Civil Case?

A hit-and-run case can be either a criminal or civil case.

In a criminal case, it’s the responsibility of the state attorney to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the elements of a hit-and-run accident occurred. It’s also their responsibility to prove that the injuries sustained in the accident were severe. As mentioned, the offender could face lesser charges if the jury finds the injuries weren’t serious.

In a civil case, these responsibilities fall on the plaintiff. But plaintiffs must also prove the elements of negligence.

Regardless of if the state brings criminal charges, the victim may take legal action against the offender.

But if you file a civil suit, you’ll want to hire an accident attorney to ensure you receive a just outcome. Navigating the court system alone can be daunting and stressful.

How Much Compensation Can You Get After a Hit-and-Run?

The compensation you can receive after a hit-and-run depends on the damages from the accident and any additional harm from the underlying fault of the driver fleeing the scene. Typically, you can get compensation for the following:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills and other related medical expenses, such as continuing care
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Wrongful death

But we must warn you: insurance companies are a real pain to deal with. Therefore, it’s best to have a personal injury lawyer fight on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.

Let Florida Ticket Firm Fight For You

If you ever become a hit-and-run accident victim, don’t do this alone. Let us fight for you! For help with your case, contact us at Florida Ticket Firm for a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney. Our law firm will happily begin working on your case today to get you the justice you deserve.