Articles Posted in Fleeing Police

While most people involved in car accidents stop to assess the damage, speak to anyone else involved, and give a statement to the police, some people panic and leave the place where the accident occurred without stopping. When they come to their senses, they often wonder if they can be charged with a crime for leaving the accident scene. If you were involved in a collision and then left, you should speak to a knowledgeable Clearwater criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to determine your options.

Florida Statutes Regarding Leaving the Scene of an Accident

In Florida, the law imposes different duties on parties who are involved in accidents that cause property damage and those that cause bodily harm. Specifically, if drivers are involved in collisions that only cause damage to vehicles or other property, they must immediately stop at the scene of the crash or as close as possible and must remain there until they have given a report or other information to the police. If they fail to do so, they may be charged with an offense that is a misdemeanor of the second degree, which is punishable by imprisonment for up to sixty days and a fine of up to $500.

When a collision involves bodily harm, the requirements differ. In other words, drivers of cars involved in accidents that cause an injury to or death of another person must provide their names, addresses, and registration numbers of the vehicles they are operating, and if requested, their licenses to anyone injured in the crash or to the person attending a vehicle damaged in the crash. Continue Reading ›

When a police officer flashes his lights, activates his siren, or otherwise directs a person to pull over, it’s a good idea to do so. As a recent case out of Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal shows, declining an officer’s direction to pull over is a felony, even if you don’t understand why the officer wants you to stop your car.A defendant was charged with fleeing a law enforcement officer at a high speed or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, a second-degree felony, after a run in with the police in 2016. On the day in question, a Martin County police officer was driving in a marked police cruiser when he noticed a truck matching the description of a vehicle for which he was looking. He also noticed some sort of undisclosed “equipment infraction” on the truck. The officer said he turned on the car’s police lights – but did not use the siren – after the car cut from one lane into a turn lane. The defendant pulled the truck into a nearby bank parking lot. When the police cruiser followed, he accelerated, according to the officer.

That’s when the officer activated his sirens. In response, according to the officer, the defendant began weaving through traffic. Another officer who witnessed the incident said neither car reached speeds faster than 40 miles per hour. The speed limit for the area was 35 miles an hour. What the officer following the defendant didn’t know is that the defendant called 911 during this time. He said during the call that he was being followed by a police officer and wanted to pull over in a safe, well-lit area. The officer eventually ended the pursuit by nudging the defendant car in a way that forced it to lose control, spin around, and stop.

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