If your hit and run involved alcohol or drugs and if there was serious injury or death you could be facing mandatory prison. You could be facing a loss of your driver’s license for life. Chances are, the accident was not your fault. Someone may have been crossing the road at night totally drunk. A person may have been on a bicycle without a light on the wrong side of the road. Someone else may have run a light or a stop sign. You may not have even remotely caused the accident. The problem occurs when you leave the scene. Do not provide the missing link in terms of evidence in a criminal case.
At our criminal defense firm we have been defending hit and run cases for decades. We are compassionate and feel bad for the victims but our obligation is to protect you, protect you from yourself. We will analyze your situation and work to minimize the consequences of our past mistakes. No one can change the past but you can change how it affects the future.
A night of fun turns into your worst nightmare. It happens all the time.
It could be something as simple as the girl’s night out or a trip to the Mall. In our day to day life things happen that change our lives forever. A trip to the store turns into a road rage incident. An anniversary dinner turns into a DUI arrest. A kid’s ball game turns ugly and someone gets arrested for aggravated battery. A couple’s visit to the VFW ends up in a domestic violence arrest. Things go horribly wrong and someone gets arrested and ends up in jail. No one plans to get arrested. It just happens, and when it does, what you do next can impact your life for a long time.
A conviction for a crime can have lasting consequences. A DUI conviction can cost you your job, embarrass you, raise your insurance rates and affect you employment opportunities forever. A domestic violence arrest can get your family involved with the DCF, get you thrown out of your own home with a restraining order and land you on probation with mandatory counseling. Getting high at a party and getting busted for possession of marijuana or cocaine can cost you your driver’s license, your job and your future. If you are a professional like a doctor or lawyer, your license to practice can be in jeopardy. You may find yourself suspended from practicing and your entire life turned upside down.
There is an old saying, “sh** happens”, and when it does, what you do next is critical.
This happens almost every day here in Sarasota
We have a lot of elderly drivers both here and in Manatee County. When this happens, often the elderly driver is flustered and simply drives off. There were 92,000 hit and run accidents in Florida just last year. Even if no one is injured, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage is still a crime. Often someone witnesses this and takes down a tag number and the driver gets a visit from police later. This can result in an arrest or a citation. Most of the time the accident would have been covered by insurance anyway. It is the leaving the scene that is the problem.
Did this happen to you?
No one wants to have a criminal record, even for a misdemeanor. Later in life, you just don’t need something like that tarnishing a perfect history. As a Sarasota criminal lawyer, most of the time these cases can be resolved with restitution and what is known as “diversion”. I may be able to ultimately get your case dismissed after negotiating with the prosecutor. I have handled cases where it is something as simple as running into a mailbox, a street sign or a bus bench. As we get older, our vision just isn’t what it used to be. If it is a matter of property damage, chances are you have a good chance of getting your case dismissed if it is handled right. Sometimes elderly people do not even realize they have hit something. Driving away may have been unintentional. There are defenses to these types of situation.
If you find yourself in this type of situation, call today for a free consultation. What you tell a lawyer is confidential and even if you do not hire me, it is kept a secret.
Call today at 941 366 3506
Most people don’t think about leaving or running after an accident…It just happens. Sometimes people are in a state of shock themselves. They may have suffered physical trauma themselves or the mental trauma of seeing the person they struck mangled, bleeding and possibly dead. Flight is a natural human reaction to these types of situations. When it finally sinks in, panic is replaced by fear of the consequences. People in these situations do not set out to become a felon or a criminal. The split second decision to run or stay is done in an instant, and then the driver has a lifetime to deal with the consequences. An arrest may or may not be made. An investigation will however surely follow, particularly if there is serious bodily injury or death. This is where having a good experienced criminal lawyer can make the difference between freedom and prison. It is one thing to feel guilty, it is another to be guilty and get sentenced to State prison. All the guilt in the world will not bring someone back to life. All the guilt in the world can land you in jail, away from your family, and with your life now destroyed. I do feel bad for the families of hit and run drivers. They need closure. As a criminal defense attorney, my job is to protect my client. Confession may be good for the soul, but it ends up putting your body in jail. Closure for my clients should not be prison.
In all hit and run cases, the State must have evidence putting you behind the wheel. That evidence should not come from your mouth. Even if you have already confessed, there may be a technicality that keeps that confession from coming into evidence. You may not have been advised of your rights. What you said may have been covered by some type of privilege. Very few cases are “impossible” and our goal is to keep you out of jail, keep you from becoming a convicted felon and restore your life to normality. If you are under investigation for hit and run there is no shame in “lawyering up”. In fact, that is exactly what you should do. Guilt is a wasted emotion. It does no good. It changes nothing.
If you need to talk, find out your rights, call for a free confidential consultation today. In Sarasota call 941 366 3506 In Ft. Myers call 239 334 8890
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ALL REQUESTS FOR CONTACT ARE STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL AND GO DIRECTLY TO AN EXPERIENCED HIT AND RUN CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY,LEE AND COLLIER COUNTY SEAN C O’HALLORAN, CHARLOTTE AND DESOTO COUNTY ANDREW J BANYAI, SARASOTA PINELLAS HILLSBOROUGH AND MANATEE COUNTY PETER D AIKEN YOUR REQUEST WILL BE DIRECTED TO THE CLOSEST OFFICE TO YOU
Most collisions between cars and people on a bicycle result in injury to the bicyclist. The person on the bicycle almost always goes down and often is injured or killed. There is hardly ever significant damage to the vehicle. It only takes a slight bump to put the bike down and most of the time, panic sets in, and when it does, the driver simply speeds away. Since the person on the bike goes down and gets injured, they almost never get a tag number or accurate description of either the car or the driver. Many of the car/bike crashes occur at night in dimly lit areas and are not witnessed by anyone else. The person on the bicycle may have no clue who hit them. Getting prompt medical attention may save a life. That is the very reason the penalties are stiff when it comes to hit and run. It is one thing to drive away from a car you bumped in a parking lot. It is quite another to drive away from a person critically injured laying possibly in traffic. The police and the prosecutors take this seriously and a conviction can land you in State Prison.
That has to flash through the mind of many people in the seconds following an accident. The problem is that if the mind is impaired from alcohol,the thoughts of losing everthing or drugs the chances are the decision as to whether to leave the scene of an accident will likely be flawed. This is particularly true if your vehicle has not been immobilized. If a person strikes someone on a bicycle the chances of them leaving are greatly increased. Many of the bicycle accidents happen in the dark. The pedestrians that are hit are often crossing or walking in a road without a light at night. The accident may not have been the driver’s fault. Panic is a terrible thing, particularly if you are impaired. Your judgement may by seriously in question. There are extreme penalties, minimum mandatory sentences if you leave the scene of a death. There may be even worse penalties if you were driving under the influence and someone dies as a result of you being impaired. By the time you read this however, your decision has probably already been made. For over thirty years I have been defending people who leave the scene of an accident. Every case is different. Usually, an admission or a confession is the State’s most damaging evidence. If you find yourself in a situation where you are facing an arrest or worse yet have already been arrested good legal advice can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. You have the right to remain silent. That is an important right. Before you answer any questions you should consult a really good criminal lawyer, one experienced in DUI cases and one who has handled leaving the scene arrests. What you say to a lawyer cannot be repeated. It is confidential. If you have a serious legal problem and need advice, give us a call. We have offices in Ft. Myers, Punta Gorda and Sarasota. We are not like the typical personal injury lawyers. WE DON’T SUE PEOPLE….WE DEFEND PEOPLE WHEN THEY LEAVE THE SCENE
In Florida last year there were 92,000 hit and run accidents. In 19,000 of those cases there were injuries and deaths. Many of the accidents were caused by impaired drivers going the wrong way on a road. Many of the accidents were rear end collisions where an impaired driver simply did not stop. Many of the deaths involve cars hitting bicycles. Bicycle deaths are at the top of the list when it comes to hit and run. The car usually only has minor damage and can easily leave the scene. The bicycle rider may have been at fault, either not having a light or being on the wrong side of the road. It is the “leaving” that is the crime and the penalties are huge if death or serious injury results. The guilt may be consuming you and you may have seen your accident on the evening news. The urge to come forward and confess may be consuming you. Guilt is a terrible feeling and generally self-destructive. You cannot change the past. As a criminal lawyer every day I speak to people about their deep dark secrets. You can talk to a lawyer in total confidence, even more so than with a therapists or friend. Talking to the police, confessing your guilt, will do you no good whatsoever. It will get you arrested, get a high bond set, get you prosecuted and land you in prison serving a four year minimum mandatory sentence. What you say to a lawyer, even one you have not hired yet is covered by the attorney client privilege and can never be repeated to anyone. What you say to the Florida Highway Patrol officer, a Sheriff’s detective or the police officer is not and can provide the missing link in landing you in prison. There are many reason people leave the scene. Some people may have been drunk and not even realized they hit someone until the next day. Some may have fled because they were driving on a suspended license. Some may have left because they had no insurance or current registration. Some may have left because they are in the Country illegally and fear deportation. Confessing accomplishes nothing!
If You or someone you know were involved in a hit and run accident in Lee County, Charlotte County, Desoto County, Pinellas, Hillsborough County,Pinellas County,Sarasota County or Manatee County and want to make a confidential call to have your questions answered, call us today and ask for Attorneys Sean O’Halloran or Peter Aiken for a free consultation. We have offices in Ft. Myers, Punta Gorda and Sarasota and before you do anything, before you call the police, before you say anything, call for a free consultation. Even if you do not ultimately hire us we may be able help you through this troubled time. Good people sometimes make bad decisions or mistakes. If you made a bad decision, do not make another one by talking to the police. Call us first
Hit and Run? Do not Report Your Car Stolen
Chances are, if you are reading this, you may have panicked and left the scene of an accident. In Florida, every day there are hit and run accidents. Some of the accidents involve bumping someone’s unattended car either in a parking lot or on the road. Some involve actual collisions where a person flees the scene in the vehicle because of the lack of a driver’s license, the lack of green card or possibly being impaired from alcohol or drugs. Some of the accidents involve serious bodily injury or death. This is particularly true when the vehicle strikes a pedestrian or a bicycle. There are many reasons a driver may leave the scene. Panic is the number one reason. You can never roll back the clock and in the case of death or bodily injury, feeling guilty or making a confession will accomplish nothing. Falsely reporting the car stolen is a huge mistake. Committing a new crime (a false police report) only makes things much worse. Florida has minimum mandatory prison sentences in cases involving death and a confession will only land you in State prison. The accident may not have been your fault, for example in the case of a pedestrian crossing the road at night, but leaving the scene is still a crime.
What do I do if I took off?
Take a deep breath and calm down. You cannot change the past, not even a second of it. If you left the car at the scene, you can expect that the police will contact the registered owner almost immediately. The police need to establish that a particular person was behind the wheel. Basically, they need a “wheel witness”, someone who can prove who was driving at the time of the accident. If you are a parent and your child was involved in a crash, the police may show up at your house because the car is registered in your name. A spouse or a friend may have been driving the vehicle and fled the scene. You may have been drunk or impaired when the accident occurred. What you do next can make the difference between a conviction and prison and not being arrested or prosecuted. Never make a statement or file a report in a hit and run situation without talking to a lawyer. Your statement or comment may provide the missing link in a successful prosecution. Keep your mouth shut and “lawyer up” immediately. If someone was fatally injured, and you were impaired or fled the scene going to prison will not bring that life back. Guilt is a horrible feeling but going to prison will change only your life.
Here are some helpful tips: Do not try and get someone to lie for you. Do not report the car stolen. Do not speak to the police without talking to an attorney. Do not file a phony accident report. Do not lie to the police….You have the right to remain silent.
If you or a loved one was involved in a hit and run accident in Ft Myers Cape Coral Pine Island Sanibel Sarasota Charlotte Punta Gorda Boca Grand Venice Sarasota Bradenton or Pinellas and have questions or are in need of legal help call now