Leaving the scene of an accident can be a non-criminal traffic infraction (a simple traffic ticket) under Florida law. Florida statutes section 316.062 makes it a non-criminal infraction for failing to give information and render aid when involved in a traffic accident.
However, Florida statutes section 316.061 makes it a criminal offense to leave the scene of an accident without providing information and fulfilling the requirements under Florida law.
Florida law requires you to remain at the scene following a car accident. You must provide the other driver with your personal information and insurance information.
The non-criminal statute and the criminal statute are similar. However, the stigmas and penalties are much different. A non-criminal infraction is not a crime. It is a traffic ticket, no different than speeding. You may face points on your driver's license or an increase in your insurance premiums, but you will not be left with a criminal record.
A criminal offense is a crime and will result in a criminal record unless you are able to take measures to clean it.
If under investigation for leaving the scene of an accident, it may be to your benefit to offer cooperation to the police in exchange for the issuance of a non-criminal citation. Many times, these detectives that investigate LSA (leaving the scene of an accident) offenses just want to close out their cases. If you retain a Miami LSA attorney or Broward LSA attorney (depending on where the crash occurs) and the attorney can establish a rapport with the lead detective, it may be possible to have a non-criminal citation issued in lieu of a PTA (promise to appear) or physical arrest for a crime.
If you are under investigation for an LSA or receive a letter from a police department informing you that you are the subject of an LSA investigation, call me.