Is a Hit and Run a Felony in Florida?

Is a Hit and Run a Felony?

A hit and run is a serious crime because it critically undermines the safety of roadways. No matter who causes the collision, if one or more parties leaves the scene, it compromises the investigation into the events of the accident. More importantly, it puts the people involved at a much higher risk of serious injury or even death.

This is why the penalties for a hit and run conviction are so steep — to deter people from fleeing from an accident to avoid consequences. Under law, the most serious crimes are classified as felonies and given harsher consequences, including higher fines and prison sentences. Many people involved in a hit and run inquire as to whether it is treated as a felony under the law in Florida.

A hit and run can be a felony in certain circumstances, but it depends on the amount of damage and bodily injury that occurred. The following comprehensive guide will provide a clear understanding of what a hit and run is, when it can be considered a felony, what the consequences are, and how an attorney can help.

What is a hit and run?

A hit and run is defined as when one or more parties directly involved in an automobile accident leave the scene of the collision. Florida law requires anyone who is in a car accident to stay at the scene, make any reasonable effort to provide assistance if someone is injured, and provide identifying information if there is property damage. If a person leaves the accident and they are identified and apprehended, there will always be more serious consequences than if that person had stayed in place.

When is a hit and run considered a felony?

A hit and run can be considered a second or third degree felony if there is any serious bodily injury. If the accident results in a fatality, it can be considered a first degree felony with serious consequences. Leaving the scene of any accident where there is any property damage but no injury is classified as a second degree misdemeanor with the potential for jail time.

Penalties and Consequences of a Hit and Run Conviction

According to Florida Statute 316.027, not adhering to the legal duty to stay on the scene of an accident can result in the following penalties — if you are charged and convicted:

  • A hit and run resulting in a fatality is punishable as a first-degree felony with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of four years and as many as 30 years, a $10,000 fine, and at least a three-year license revocation.
  • A hit and run causing serious bodily injury can result in a third or second degree felony, depending on the extent of injury and other circumstances. This means up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine and at least a three-year license revocation.
  • A hit and run that results in property damage without injury is classified as a second degree misdemeanor with penalties of up to 60 days of jail time and a $500 fine.

Dos and Don’ts When You Are In an Accident

When an accident occurs, all motorists are required to take a number of steps, while also avoiding key mistakes. Dos and don’ts include:


  • Remain at the scene of the accident
  • If you have started to leave, turn around immediately and return
  • Take any steps you can to safely remove your vehicle from the road
  • Make sure you and any passengers are ok and not injured
  • Take any reasonable steps to ensure the other party is not injured, and if possible and within your capability, provide assistance
  • Notify first responders, including emergency medical personnel and police
  • Exchange identifiable information for any property
  • If anyone leaves the scene, do attempt to get as much identifying information as possible, including vehicle description, physical description, and license plate number


  • If you were the victim of a hit and run, do not attempt to follow the person leaving the scene
  • Attempt to alter or change any evidence at the scene of the accident
  • Admit any fault to the other party or law enforcement regardless of what happened
  • Wait to file a report with your insurance
  • Wait to seek medical attention for any injuries
  • Wait to seek legal assistance

Hit and Run FAQs

In addition to the topics listed above, people involved in a hit and run often have the following frequently asked questions (FAQ):

  • Why Do People Leave the Scene of an Accident? People leave the scene of an accident for reasons including pure panic, lack of awareness, being intoxicated, or directly wanting to avoid the financial or legal consequences involved.
  • What If There Was No Damage or Injury? It is extremely rare for a car collision or accident to occur without any damage or injury. In the case of injury, sometimes it can take days or even weeks for an injury to develop. This is why it is always advisable to stay on the scene of the accident, assess the situation, exchange information, and notify law enforcement, and insurance, to file a report.
  • Will Insurance Cover a Hit and Run? Florida law requires every motorist to hold an insurance policy with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage. Both parties’ insurance carriers, if insured, will conduct an investigation of the accident and propose a settlement to cover costs for property damage and injuries. Working with an attorney can help you ensure that you have received any legal compensation you are entitled to.
  • Is There Any Defense for a Hit and Run? In certain cases, there can be mitigating circumstances for leaving the scene of an accident. It is also important to ensure that law enforcement and the prosecution have conducted a fair and legal investigation into any alleged crime. Anyone involved in a hit and run should seek legal assistance to ensure they are being treated fairly under the law.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Anyone involved in a car accident where one or more parties have left the scene should always seek legal counsel. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney will know your rights under the law as well as the duties and restrictions that law enforcement must adhere to during a criminal investigation.

An attorney can help achieve the best possible long-term outcome for each individual circumstance.

Reach Out to Clark Hartpence Law If You Have Been Involved in a Hit and Run

If you or someone you love has been in an accident that involves a hit and run, call the experts at Clark Hartpence Law at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. Our highly skilled and caring attorneys regularly represent clients involved in a wide range of automobile-related cases, including hit and run situations.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.