At 12:30 am on January 17, 2017, 43-year-old Alexis Monroe left her parents home in Summer field, Marion County and headed for Tampa. Earlier that day, the mother of two daughters had an argument with her boyfriend. As was customary whenever she wanted time to cool off, Alexis left for Tampa to spend time with close friends. Her night journey would however end in tragedy shortly thereafter.
She was knocked down and killed by a car as she walked along the South U.S. 301. The driver did not stop. A truck driver who happened on the body about an hour and a half after the accident called 911. A few days later, Florida Highway Patrol troopers found the silver Honda sedan that they believe was involved in the hit and run. No arrests have been made but investigations are ongoing and the police are looking to interview some persons of interest.
Hit and run in Florida
The law requires that drivers involved in a crash that causes death, injury or property damage, remain at the scene in order to provide their details as well as render emergency assistance to victims if necessary. The details they provide include their name, address, driver’s license and vehicle’s registration. Unfortunately, as Alexis’ devastating end shows, this is not always the case. Many drivers opt to flee.
According to the FDHSMV, a quarter of all Florida car accidents in 2014 involved a hit-and-run. While most result in only property damage, nearly 200 people were killed in 2015. The number of Florida hit-and-run crashes rose 8% in 2015. Between 2012 and 2014, Orange County had the 3rd highest number of hit-and-run collisions in the state: 17,670.
Also Read: Steps To Take After An Auto Accident
Leaving an accident scene is an offense. How much punishment is meted on the driver will depend on the severity of the accident and it’s aftermath.
- Hit-and-run Involving Property Damage. This is considered a second degree misdemeanor. If convicted, the judge can sentence the driver to any combination of sixty days in jail, six months probation and a maximum fine of $500.
- Hit-and-run Involving Injury. A third degree felony, the judge can sentence the driver to any combination of five years imprisonment, five years probation or a maximum fine of $5,000. The individual’s driving license is revoked and they may be required to provide restitution to the victims.
- Hit-and-run Involving Death. A first degree felony, the minimum sentence if convicted is 4 years imprisonment. Maximum penalty can be any combination of thirty years imprisonment, thirty years probation and a maximum fine of $10,000. The person’s driving license is revoked and they may ordered to pay restitution to the victims.
When apprehended, persons charged with hit-and-run will often present arguments in their defense. The following are two of the most common.
Ignorance of Accident
The driver may deny knowledge of the accident. This would be a feasible argument in instances where the contact between the cars was so mild as to make it difficult for the driver to have felt it. Yet, in instances of such little contact, there is often hardly any damage or injury that results.
Given the force of impact that characterizes serious crashes, it is unlikely that a driver would fail to notice they have been involved in such an accident. Realistically, that would only happen if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or had a medical impairment such as hypoglycemia.
Not the Driver at the Time
The defendant can claim that they were not the one behind the wheel at the time of the accident. This a realistic defense in cases where witnesses only spotted the vehicle’s registration and physical attributes but could not identify the person behind the wheel. The driver will present alibi witnesses that would corroborate his or her position.
Badgley Law Group Orlando Car Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured following a hit-and-run accident, get in touch with Badgley Law Group’s Orlando Car Accident Lawyers. Our team has built an exceptional record in Florida representing accident victims. We do not spare any effort in ensuring your rights are protected and that you get the compensation you truly deserve.