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Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Serious Bodily Injury


Leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury is a grave offense under Florida law. According to Florida Statute 316.027, this violation occurs when a driver involved in an accident resulting in serious bodily injury fails to stop and remain at the scene. Serious bodily injury is defined as an injury that creates a substantial risk of death, serious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of a bodily function.

What Constitutes Serious Bodily Injury?

Serious bodily injury includes conditions that significantly impact the victim’s health or physical abilities. Examples include traumatic brain injuries, severe fractures, and internal organ damage. Understanding the severity of these injuries is crucial for comprehending the legal implications of leaving the scene.

What is serious bodily injury? Serious bodily injury is an injury that creates a substantial risk of death, serious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of a bodily function.

Under Florida law, the term “serious bodily injury” is specifically defined to ensure that only significant injuries fall under this category. This definition is crucial for legal proceedings, as it determines the severity of the charges and potential penalties one might face.

Florida Statute 316.027 outlines the responsibilities of drivers involved in crashes resulting in serious bodily injury. The law mandates that drivers must:

  • Stop immediately: Drivers must stop their vehicle at the scene of the crash or as close to it as possible.
  • Remain at the scene: Drivers must stay at the scene until they have fulfilled the requirements of providing information and rendering aid as specified in Florida Statute 316.062.
  • Provide necessary assistance: This includes offering reasonable assistance to any injured persons, such as calling emergency services.

Failing to comply with these requirements can result in severe legal consequences. It’s essential to understand these obligations to avoid exacerbating the situation and facing additional charges.

For more information on related traffic offenses, you can read about reckless driving or the violation of BPO restriction.

Traffic checkpoints preventing DUI accidents

The penalties for leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury are severe. Under Florida law, this offense is classified as a second-degree felony. Convictions can result in substantial fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record. The law aims to ensure that drivers take responsibility for their actions and provide necessary assistance to injured parties.

Felony Charges and Penalties

Being charged with a second-degree felony can lead to a prison sentence of up to 15 years and fines up to $10,000. Additionally, the convicted individual’s driver’s license will be revoked for at least three years. These harsh penalties underscore the seriousness of the offense and the state’s commitment to road safety.

According to Florida Statute 316.027, the penalties for leaving the scene of a crash vary depending on the severity of the injury to the victim:

  • Injury to a person: Classified as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • Serious bodily injury: Classified as a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • Death: Classified as a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

In addition to these penalties, the court may order the driver to make restitution to the victim for any damage or loss. This restitution can be monetary or nonmonetary and is a condition of probation. The court may also require the driver to attend a victim’s impact panel session or a driver improvement course.

For more details on the legal ramifications, you can refer to our page on reckless driving.

Impact on Driver’s License

One of the most significant consequences of a conviction for leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury is the revocation of the driver’s license. Under Florida law, the driver’s license will be revoked for at least three years. Before the driving privilege can be reinstated, the offender must present proof of completion of a victim’s impact panel session or a department-approved driver improvement course.

The revocation of the driver’s license is intended to serve as a deterrent and to emphasize the importance of remaining at the scene of an accident. It also ensures that the driver understands the gravity of their actions and the impact on the victims involved.

Besides the immediate penalties, a conviction for leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury can have long-term repercussions. These include:

  • Permanent criminal record: A felony conviction will remain on the individual’s criminal record, affecting future employment opportunities and other aspects of life.
  • Increased insurance premiums: Insurance companies may significantly raise premiums or even cancel coverage for drivers with such convictions.
  • Loss of civil rights: Felony convictions can result in the loss of certain civil rights, such as the right to vote or possess firearms.

Understanding these consequences is crucial for anyone facing charges related to leaving the scene of a crash. For more information on related offenses, you can read our page on fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement.

The legal landscape surrounding traffic crimes is complex, and the penalties are severe. If you or a loved one is facing such charges, it is essential to seek experienced legal representation. Attorneys like Joe Easton and John Vallillo at Leppard Law bring over 60 years of combined criminal defense experience, offering innovative defense strategies and a commitment to excellence.

For more insights into traffic-related offenses, visit our comprehensive guide on Florida’s no-fault insurance laws.

Defenses Against Charges of Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Serious Bodily Injury

Defending against charges of leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury requires a strategic legal approach. Common defenses include proving lack of knowledge about the injury, demonstrating that the driver was not aware of the crash, or showing that the driver was not the one operating the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Given the complexity of these cases, it is crucial to seek experienced legal representation. Attorneys like Joe Easton and John Vallillo at Leppard Law bring over 60 years of combined criminal defense experience, offering innovative defense strategies and a commitment to excellence. Their expertise can significantly impact the outcome of the case.

For example, one common defense is to prove lack of knowledge about the injury. This can be accomplished by presenting evidence that the driver was unaware that the crash resulted in serious bodily injury. Another defense is to demonstrate that the driver was not aware of the crash. This can be particularly effective in cases where the collision was minor, and the driver did not realize that an accident had occurred.

Additionally, it may be possible to show that the driver was not the one operating the vehicle at the time of the accident. This can be done by providing evidence such as witness statements, surveillance footage, or other documentation that places someone else behind the wheel.

For more information on related offenses, you can read our page on reckless driving.

Another important aspect of defending against these charges is understanding the specific legal requirements and obligations under Florida law. According to Florida Statute 316.027, the driver must stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash and remain there until they have fulfilled the requirements of section 316.062. This includes providing their name, address, and vehicle registration number to the injured party and rendering reasonable assistance, such as transporting the injured person to a hospital if necessary.

Key Defenses in Detail

  • Lack of Knowledge: Demonstrating that the driver did not know the crash resulted in serious bodily injury.
  • Unawareness of Crash: Proving that the driver was unaware that an accident had occurred, which can be effective in minor collisions.
  • Not the Driver: Providing evidence that someone else was operating the vehicle at the time of the accident.
  • Compliance with Legal Requirements: Showing that the driver fulfilled their obligations under Florida law by stopping at the scene and providing necessary information and assistance.

To explore more about traffic-related offenses, visit our comprehensive guide on fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement.

In these complex legal situations, the expertise of skilled attorneys like those at Leppard Law can make a significant difference. With their extensive experience and innovative defense strategies, they can help navigate the legal system and work towards the best possible outcome for your case.

For more insights into traffic-related offenses, visit our page on traffic citations involving serious bodily injury or death.

What are the defenses against charges of leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury? Common defenses include proving lack of knowledge about the injury, demonstrating that the driver was not aware of the crash, or showing that the driver was not the one operating the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Understanding these defenses is crucial for anyone facing such charges. If you or a loved one is in this situation, seeking experienced legal representation is essential. Attorneys like Joe Easton and John Vallillo at Leppard Law bring over 60 years of combined criminal defense experience, offering innovative defense strategies and a commitment to excellence.

For more details on the legal ramifications, you can refer to our page on vehicular homicide.

Steps to Take If Involved in a Crash Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury

Knowing what to do immediately after a crash involving serious bodily injury can make a significant difference in the legal outcomes. The first step is to stop the vehicle and remain at the scene. It’s essential to provide aid to the injured parties and call emergency services. Fulfilling these obligations can help mitigate legal consequences.

Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Serious Bodily Injury

Documenting the Scene

While waiting for emergency services, document the scene by taking photographs and gathering witness statements. This evidence can be crucial in building a defense if charges are filed. Additionally, contacting an attorney as soon as possible can ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

What should you do if involved in a crash resulting in serious bodily injury? Stop the vehicle, remain at the scene, provide aid, and call emergency services immediately.

Immediate Actions to Take

  • Stop the Vehicle: Florida law requires that you stop your vehicle at the scene or as close to it as possible.
  • Provide Aid: Render reasonable assistance to any injured parties, which may include calling for medical help or transporting the injured to a hospital.
  • Call Emergency Services: Contact 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance.
  • Gather Evidence: Take photos of the scene, the vehicles involved, and any injuries. Collect contact information from witnesses.

Understanding these steps is essential for anyone involved in a serious crash. For more details on related offenses and legal advice, visit our page on vehicular homicide.

Florida Statute 316.027 outlines the legal obligations of drivers involved in crashes resulting in serious bodily injury. According to the statute, drivers must:

  1. Stop the vehicle immediately at the scene or as close as possible.
  2. Remain at the scene until they have fulfilled the requirements of section 316.062, which includes providing their name, address, and vehicle registration number to the injured party.
  3. Render reasonable assistance to the injured, such as transporting them to a hospital if necessary.

For more information on the legal consequences of not fulfilling these obligations, refer to our page on reckless driving.

What are the legal obligations under Florida law for drivers involved in crashes resulting in serious bodily injury? Drivers must stop their vehicle, remain at the scene, provide their information, and render reasonable assistance to the injured.

Contacting an Attorney

One of the most critical steps after fulfilling your immediate obligations is to contact an experienced attorney. Legal experts like Joe Easton and John Vallillo at Leppard Law have over 60 years of combined criminal defense experience. Their knowledge and innovative defense strategies can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

For more insights into traffic-related offenses, visit our page on driving with a suspended license.

Why Documentation is Crucial

Documenting the scene of the crash is not just about taking photos. It involves gathering as much evidence as possible to support your case if charges are filed. This includes:

  • Photographs: Capture images of the scene, vehicles, injuries, and any relevant road conditions.
  • Witness Statements: Collect contact information and statements from any witnesses who saw the crash.
  • Police Reports: Ensure that the police report accurately reflects the details of the crash.

For more details on how to handle traffic-related offenses, visit our comprehensive guide on fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement.

In these challenging situations, the expertise of skilled attorneys like those at Leppard Law can make a significant difference. With their extensive experience and innovative defense strategies, they can help navigate the legal system and work towards the best possible outcome for your case.

For more information on traffic-related legal issues, visit our page on traffic citations involving serious bodily injury or death.

Documenting the scene of a crash includes taking photographs, gathering witness statements, and ensuring the police report is accurate.

Understanding these steps and legal obligations is crucial for anyone involved in a serious crash. If you or a loved one is in this situation, seeking experienced legal representation is essential. Attorneys like Joe Easton and John Vallillo at Leppard Law bring over 60 years of combined criminal defense experience, offering innovative defense strategies and a commitment to excellence.

For more details on the legal ramifications, you can refer to our page on vehicular homicide.

Infographic depicting the words Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Serious Bodily Injury

What are the penalties for leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury in Florida?

The penalties for leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury in Florida include being charged with a second-degree felony. Convictions can result in up to 15 years in prison, fines up to $10,000, and a mandatory driver’s license revocation for at least three years.

What should I do if I am involved in a crash resulting in serious bodily injury?

If you are involved in a crash resulting in serious bodily injury, you should immediately stop your vehicle, remain at the scene, provide aid to the injured parties, and call emergency services. Document the scene by taking photographs and gathering witness statements.

What constitutes serious bodily injury in a traffic accident?

Serious bodily injury in a traffic accident is defined as an injury that creates a substantial risk of death, serious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of a bodily function. Examples include traumatic brain injuries, severe fractures, and internal organ damage.

Can I face felony charges for leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury?

Yes, you can face felony charges for leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury. In Florida, this offense is classified as a second-degree felony, which can lead to severe penalties including imprisonment, fines, and driver’s license revocation.

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Top-Rated Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Serious Bodily Injury Attorneys Serving Florida

Choosing the appropriate legal representation is crucial when pursuing a claim. A seasoned, committed attorney ensures you’re equipped to make informed choices at each phase of the process.

  • John Vallillo: As a stalwart in the legal scene, John Vallillo has earned his stripes through a consistent record of case dismissals and proactive defense. His background as both a prosecutor and defense attorney enriches his strategic defense planning with invaluable insights.
  • Joe Easton: Renowned for crafting winning defenses, Joe Easton’s approach to legal advocacy in combines thorough preparation with aggressive representation. His notable recognitions and ratings stand testament to his exceptional service and client-focused approach.
  • Joel Leppard: Joel Leppard infuses every case with a level of personal commitment and innovative thinking that sets him apart. His leadership has not only grown Leppard Law into a top-rated criminal defense law firm but also ensured that clients receive empathetic, effective legal care.

Discover What Our Clients Are Saying

At the forefront of our Traffic Offenses practice is a deep-seated commitment to client satisfaction. Each case is handled with utmost care, as echoed in the appreciative feedback from those we represent. Stellar reviews are what make us one consistently one of Central Florida’s top-rated Traffic Offenses law firms. This is just a portion of our hundreds of 5-star reviews on Facebook, Google, Thumbtack, Yelp, and more. You can read more 5-star reviews here: https://leppardlaw.com/reviews/.



Contact Our Top-Rated Traffic Crime Defense Attorneys Today

At Leppard Law, we treat our clients like family. We always put their best interests first and fight for the best possible outcome for their case. What does it look like to have a personal relationship with your attorney? Someone who has your back when things get tough? A lawyer that knows you as well as they know your case?

But you don’t have to take our word for it—experience it for yourself. If you or a loved one have been charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call us now at 407-476-4111.

Our seasoned attorneys, including John Vallillo and Joe Easton, bring over 60 years of combined criminal defense experience. We provide the same resources available from larger firms but with a unique dedication to personal attention.

Leppard Law has been recognized among the best in the field:

  • Highlighted among the “Top Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando, FL” 2023 by Expertise (link)
  • Listed among the “Top 10 Best DUI Lawyers Near Orlando, Florida” 2018-24 by Yelp (link)
  • Named as one of “Top Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando, FL” 2023 by Thumbtack (link)
  • Listed among the “Best DUI Lawyers in Orlando” 2023 by Expertise (link)
  • Highlighted among the “Top Criminal Defense Lawyers in Deltona, FL” 2023 by Expertise (link)

Don’t wait—one call to our top-rated criminal defense attorneys can make all the difference. Schedule your consultation today, and let us provide the support and legal expertise you deserve. Call 407-476-4111 or contact us online to get started.

 


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Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Expert Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects the firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, offers more than just legal representation; he brings a commitment to turning legal challenges into triumphs. His approach, combining tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensures your case is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

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