Leaving the Scene Causing Death
Most people in Florida and in the United States will go through their lives never worrying about being charged with a crime. They cannot ever foresee themselves needing to commit theft, murdering another person, or committing a sex offense. And for most people, this sentiment is probably true, as the percentage of people charged with a crime is a relatively low number. What most people do not account for though, is the presence of criminal offenses that can truly come out of nowhere. There are few if any people who know each and every crime punishable in Florida, and that is because there are simply so many of them. And the reality is that many of our clients walk through our doors, and the first words they speak are “I never thought I would be charged with a crime.”
Often, people forget that criminal offenses are not only charged as a result of evil conduct, but also negligence and even accidents. One of the most common criminal offenses that can be charged as a result of an accident is Leaving the scene of an accident. If you are involved in a car accident with another vehicle, regardless of whether or not you were responsible for the accident, the law requires that you remain at the scene of the crash and perform certain actions. If you don’t follow the law, you will be charged with a crime. The penalties for that crime can increase depending on the circumstances. If you have been charged with any form of leaving the scene of an accident, you should contact a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal lawyer right away.Leaving the Scene Involving Death
Leaving the scene of an accident is a misdemeanor offense that can often be resolved in a way that avoids any serious penalties for the defendant. However, the potential penalties can increase significantly when a person involved in the accident is injured or killed. Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death is prohibited by Florida Statute 316.027. Under the law a person involved in a crash that results in the death of another person, regardless of who was at fault for the crash, must stop his or her vehicle and remain on the scene and immediately report the crash to the authorities. A person who willfully violates the statute and fails to render aid can be found guilty of a first degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of four years. The serious potential penalties necessitate the hiring of a skilled and experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer to aid in your defense.
Luckily, there are certain defenses available to those that have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident with death. The law requires that the commission of the crime be willful in order to secure a conviction. This requirement has been interpreted by the courts to mean that the defendant must first be proven to have knowledge that he or she was actually involved in a crash. Second, the state has the burden to prove that the defendant knew or should have known based on the severity of the accident that the victim was dead or seriously injured. This legal requirement places a burden on the state that can be exploited by an experienced St. Petersburg criminal lawyer to your benefit. A person who does not know that another person has been killed in a crash cannot be held legally responsible upon leaving the scene of said crash.Speak to Our Lawyers Today
Being arrested and charged with a crime for the first time or the hundredth time is a terrifying experience. Allow the lawyers at Hanlon Law to help take some of that fear off of your plate. Call us today for a consultation at 727.289.0222.