How Common are Hit and Runs in Florida?

October 5, 2023 Criminal Defense

An unexpected motor vehicle accident can negatively impact anyone’s day. The possibility of property damage is expensive and annoying to fix. There are also the potential injuries that a person may sustain after being involved in a motor vehicle wreck. Florida roads and highways experience car wrecks every day. The standard duty of care when involved in a wreck is to address the other driver and contact law enforcement. But what happens if one of the drivers fails to do so?

There are specific laws in place to prevent individuals from leaving the scene of an accident. Also known as a hit-and-run, Florida has criminal penalties in place for individuals who fail to stay at the scene of a crash. Depending on whether the crash caused any property damage or personal injury, the defendant may be facing misdemeanor or felony charges.

This page will provide helpful information on hit-and-runs and their penalties, along with recent data on hit-and-runs in Florida.

What is a Hit and Run?

A hit-and-run is when an individual either causes or is involved in a motor vehicle accident and leaves the scene without first contacting police or providing aid to potential victims. In the state of Florida, there are specific penalties for a person who flees the scene of a motor vehicle wreck. The exact penalties depend on whether the accident caused any property damage, personal injury, or resulted in the death of another person.

Florida Statute Section 316.062 explains the duty to give information and render aid following a motor vehicle accident. Florida law requires any person involved in a crash resulting in property damage, injury, or death to provide the injured person and law enforcement with their name, address, driver’s license, and vehicle registration.

Hit and Run Penalties

“Leaving the scene of a traffic crash is a crime, even when you are scared. You must stop immediately at the scene of a crash which results in property damage, injury, or death,” said Florida Highway Patrol Director, Colonel Gene S. Spaulding.

Florida law provides the following penalties for a person who has caused a crash and fled the scene:

  • Crash involving property damage Leaving the scene results in a second-degree misdemeanor. A conviction for a second-degree misdemeanor carries up to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.
  • Crash involving personal injury to others Leaving the scene results in a third- or second-degree felony depending on the case details. A third-degree felony conviction carries up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison. A second-degree felony conviction carries up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison. If the defendant is convicted, they will also have their driver’s license revoked for at least three years.
  • Crash involving the fatality of another personLeaving the scene results in a first-degree felony. A conviction for a first-degree felony carries up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison. However, a conviction for this offense has a mandatory minimum sentencing of 4 years in prison.


According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there are more than 103,000 hit-and-run crashes in the state each year

The following provides data published by FLHSMV on the number of hit-and-run crashes resulting in serious bodily injury and death in Florida over the last five years:



Serious Bodily Injuries























The total number of hit-and-run crashes over the last five years was an estimated 515,957. Out of those, there were 1,251 reported fatalities. That means every year Florida experiences 250 deaths caused by hit-and-runs.

Additionally, hit-and-runs may occur when a driver hits another car or item causing property damage. FLHSMV stated there were 86,799 hit-and-run accidents in the last year that resulted in property damage.

The following is a statement provided by FLHSMV Executive Director Dave Kerner:

“Florida has been experiencing far too many hit-and-run tragedies for far too long, and this needs to change. Drivers who flee the scene of a crash will cause severe, lifelong penalties, and law enforcement—including our State Troopers—will track down those offenders to make sure they are held accountable under the law.”

Defenses to Leaving the Scene

Leaving the scene of an accident is not only frowned upon, but also illegal. If you are faced with this type of criminal charge, it is important to address the valid defenses a person may have for leaving the scene of an accident.

For example, the defendant may have been injured themselves, which may have left them confused or in shock. To convict a person for leaving the scene, the State has the responsibility of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the person knowingly and willfully chose to leave the scene of an accident without providing aid or calling for help. An experienced Florida criminal defense attorney can review your case details to help determine what defenses are applicable to your case.

To read about more defenses and resources regarding hit-and-runs, find our informative page here.

Consult a Tallahassee Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of a hit-and-run in Florida, it is in your best interest to consult with a defense attorney. Depending on the details of your case, leaving the scene of an accident can result in a misdemeanor or felony charge. If you were accused of causing property damage, personal injury, or the death of another person because of the wreck, the penalties for a hit-and-run can be severe. Some cases may involve a mandatory minimum sentence, meaning there is a definite amount of prison time you will be required to serve if the prosecution successfully convicts you.

The attorneys at Pumphrey Law Firm have a broad understanding of Florida’s traffic laws. We can provide you with knowledge and legal advice. If you choose to hire us after we provide you with a free consultation, we will aggressively fight the charges against you. Our goal is to guide you through nuanced legal processes, ensure your rights are protected, and win your freedom. To contact our office for a case evaluation, call us at (850) 681-7777 or leave a message through our website.

Written by Karissa Key

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