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
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