Police arrested a Jacksonville man four months after he was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident that killed a pedestrian. The 22-year-old driver initially said he thought he hit a mailbox on New Berlin Road about 9:45 p.m. one May evening, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The driver did not stop at the time of the crash, but did call his insurance company the next morning to file a claim about hitting the mailbox, the newspaper reported. The driver then hired a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney the following day after hearing about the death in media reports.
The driver was charged with failure to leave information at the scene of an accident. That Jacksonville Traffic Charge is a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of six months in the county jail. Given the circumstances and that the crash caused a death, there is a significant possibility that more charges will be filed in this Jacksonville Traffic Case, and that this arrest is just the beginning. According to Florida law, "The driver of a vehicle involved in a crash occurring on public or private property which results in injury to a person other than serious bodily injury shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close thereto as possible, and shall remain at the scene of the crash until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of s. 316.062." Those requirements include reporting the accident to police, leaving insurance and driver's license information. Those apply even if the driver thought he had only hit a mailbox.
Leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage is a second-degree misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of six months in county jail - just like the charge the driver is currently facing. However, leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury or death is a third-degree felony, and when someone pleads guilty to or is convicted of this crime, he or she is looking at up to five years in state prison. The gravity of charges and potential sentences increase dramatically when serious injuries or death are involved. Police know they have the correct car because DNA results match, according to the newspaper report. In Jacksonville Traffic Cases, requirements such as what must be done when you are in an accident and part of the agreement of having a driver's license. In other words, to have a driver's license, you agree to do certain things, including stopping when there is an accident. Failure to do so can result in charges and a claim of not knowing you were supposed to stop is not likely to be a successful defense. This Jacksonville Traffic Case will be one to keep an eye on to see if further charges are eventually filed.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Traffic Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.