Florida Hit and Run Laws

Florida hit and run laws: What evidence is needed to convict a hit and run in the Sunshine State?

Under Florida hit and run laws, leaving an accident scene is a misdemeanor if the collision results in no injuries. A hit-and-run escalates to a felony if anyone suffers injury or death.

  • Prosecutors in Florida must prove that the accused drove the vehicle, caused an accident, and intentionally left the scene.
  • Florida is a no-fault state (your insurer pays you).
  • You have a legal obligation to stop and render aid to anyone who needs it.
  • Do not admit fault at the scene or say anything that may be used against you.


Florida hit and run laws, 316.061 Crashes involving damage to vehicle or property

In Florida, failure to remain at the site of an accident is a misdemeanor if the accident does not result in death or injury. Therefore, under the statute, what you must do immediately after an accident is stop the vehicle and stay at the scene until you fulfill the requirements of 316.062.

 Section 316.062 “duty to give information and render aid,” requires the driver to do the following before leaving an accident scene:

  • You must give your name, address, and vehicle registration number to the victim, owner of damaged property, an occupant of the vehicle, or law enforcement.
  • Render reasonable assistance to anyone injured including making arrangements to transport the victim to a hospital.

Note that if the injured party requests it, you must exhibit your driver’s license to them.

What if you cannot locate the owner of the damaged vehicle or property?

State law requires that you leave your name, address, and contact information on a conspicuous section of the vehicle. Then notify the nearest police station.

What if a law enforcement agent is not present?

If you fulfill the requirements above and a law enforcement officer is not present at the scene, section 2 of the statute requires that you file a report at the nearest authorized police authority. What if you fail to file a report or fulfill the requirements above?

Upon arrest, you may face criminal charges.

Florida nonmoving violation

Note that after an accident in Florida, state law requires you to make a reasonable effort to move the vehicle so that it does not disrupt traffic flow or endanger other road users. Failure to move the vehicle is a non-moving violation punishable by a fine.

What is a hit and run under Florida law?

An accident escalates into a hit and run in Florida if the driver flees the scene without fulfilling the requirements above. To convict, prosecutors must prove that the accused was the driver of the vehicle and that the collision resulted in:

  • Property damage
  • Injury
  • Death

And that the driver failed to stop at the scene immediately.

What is the punishment for hit and run that causes property damage in Florida?

In Florida, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in property damage is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

What is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident that results in injury in Florida?

Under Florida law, fleeing the scene of an accident that causes injury is a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony in Florida is punishable by up to five years in prison plus a maximum fine of $5000.

What is the penalty for a hit-and-run death?

If the accident results in death and the driver flees the scene, the individual is guilty of a first-degree felony, punishable by a maximum of thirty years in prison and a $10000 fine.

Note that there is a two-year mandatory minimum sentence for drivers who commit hit and runs in Florida while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, fleeing from the police will only add to the charge list. To lessen the charges, you should remain at the scene, aid victims, and file a police report within ten days.

When does a hit-and-run turn into a felony in Florida?

If a hit-and-run results in death, or if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Prosecutors will pursue felony charges. Furthermore, if the driver acted with intent to injure or damage property, the crime committed is a felony.

What that means is if you intentionally hit and injure or kill someone else, you are guilty of vehicular homicide. However, if the accident was involuntary or the product of negligence, you may face manslaughter charges.

Florida hit and run laws 316.061:  what to remember

  • If the accident results in death or injury, the statute assumes that the driver knew or should have known that he had been involved in an accident.
  • You may move the vehicle if it endangers other motorists or if it interferes with the flow of traffic.
  • You are legally obligated to render reasonable assistance to anyone injured after an accident.
  • Leaving the scene escalates an accident into a crime.
  • Not aiding the victim may increase the claimant’s award.

How long do you have to report a hit and run in Florida?

After an accident in Florida, you must call law enforcement immediately. If law enforcement officers are not available or if you leave the scene for a valid reason, you must notify the police or the Florida Highway Safety and Motor vehicle department within ten days.

What is the statute of limitations on accidents in Florida?

Under Florida statutes 95.11, you have four years beginning from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. What if the driver flees?

If you are not incapacitated or injured after a hit and run, it is in your best interest to gather all the information you can at the scene. We recommend getting the other driver’s description, vehicle make, damage to the vehicle, traffic conditions, license plates, witness information, and anything else that may help law enforcement bring the person to justice.

On your part, do not be quick to take the blame, threaten the other driver, or engage in unlawful conduct such as assault.

Remember, a hostile environment is a defense for the other party, and accepting blame may disqualify you from getting compensation. Accepting fault will also impact your car insurance premiums, making it vital that you watch what you say immediately after an accident.

How is fault determined in Florida?

Florida is a no-fault state. Consequently, a claimant recovers damages after an accident through an insurance cover or PIP insurance. Meaning, you collect insurance payouts from your insurer. The same applies to the other party. Remember, it is the investigator’s job to assign fault. Thus, it would be best if you did not use any words that may be used against you by the other party. The idea is to explain your side of the story without incriminating yourself. If you are unsure how to do that, we recommend contacting an attorney before issuing a statement.

Florida hit and run laws and dangerous instrumentality doctrine

If you are the owner of a vehicle in Florida. The court may hold you liable for damages if a person operating the vehicle acts negligently, leading to property damage or injury. Note that you must voluntarily allow the person to use the vehicle to be held liable for someone else’s actions while using your vehicle. Therefore, if someone commits a hit and run while operating your vehicle with permission, the court may hold you liable. The doctrine is convoluted, so we recommend consulting with an attorney immediately.

What are the defenses for a hit and run in Florida?

Hit and run defenses depend on the facts presented. However, the most commonly used defenses in the state include:

  • You were unaware of your involvement in an accident.
  • Your failure to stop was not voluntary. For example, you feared for your health and safety.
  • You offered reasonable assistance to the victim and reported the incident at the nearest police station.
  • The other driver acted aggressively or refused assistance or the exchange of personal information.
  • You did not know of your involvement in a traffic collision.

What to do after a hit and run in Florida

The victim

If someone hits you or your property, you should first gather information at the scene that will help law enforcement catch the criminal. As mentioned, do not take the law into your hands or admit fault. You should also contact your insurer or attorney immediately and avoid saying anything that may be used against you.

In short:

  • Do not admit fault.
  • Do not threaten or harass the other party.
  • avoid self-diagnosing, thus only make a statement about your condition after getting treatment.
  • Keep medical and repair receipts, you will need evidence if you decide to take civil action.

The driver

  • Do not flee the scene.
  • Offer reasonable assistance to the victim.
  • Do not admit fault or engage in road rage.
  • Contact your attorney immediately if the accident results in death, injury, or property damage.
  • If you flee the scene. Your first stop should be the closest law enforcement agency.

Other Florida Laws