Sheriff’s Office Seeks To Raise Awareness Of Laws Regarding Accidents

 

By Tamas Mondovics

Accidents do and will happen, but the continued occurrence of hit and run crashes draws attention to the lack of knowing what to do when involved in an accident on the road.

Naming a couple of the top things on the list to keep in mind, Hillsborough County Public Information Officer Larry McKinnon said that knowing what to do, especially when involved in a hit and run crash, can save a lot of heartache.

“The first and foremost is to notify law enforcement,” McKinnon said adding that sometimes the motorist wants to chase down a suspect on their own, which is unwise considering the possibility that the suspect may have been involved in a crime prior to the crash, or is irrational since the crash.

The second thing one can do, if possible, is to take a photo of the cars involved especially the license plate.

“Most people now have a camera on their phone and are able to quickly provide vital information to law enforcement,” McKinnon said.

While there are more items on the to-do-list, here are the realities of what the laws are in connection with road related accidents:

Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Property Damage

The crime of Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Property Damage is a Second Degree Misdemeanor.

If convicted, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

• 60 days in jail.

                  • Six months of probation.

                  • A fine up to $500.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Injury

The crime of Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Injury is a Third Degree Felony punishable as a Level 5 offense under Florida’s sentencing guidelines. If convicted, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

                  • Five years in prison.

                  • Five years of probation.

                  • A fine up to $5,000.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Death

The crime of Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Death is a First Degree Felony punishable as a Level 7 offense under Florida’s sentencing guidelines.

If convicted, a judge is required to impose a minimum sentence of 21 months in prison and can impose any combination of the following penalties:

                  • 30 years in prison.

                  • 30 years of probation.

                  • A fine up to $10,000.

For more information, visit www.hcso.tampa.fl.us.