A recent Florida decision just made it more difficult to prove guilt in a hit and run case. Florida has a serious problem with hit and run accidents, which are those in which one of the drivers illegally leaves the scene of the crash without helping or getting help by reporting it to the proper authorities. Under Florida law, a hit and run is a felony regardless of who was at fault in the accident. There are a variety of reasons a driver may flee the scene of an accident: an expired driver’s license, lack of insurance, being under the influence, and even fear or being wanted by authorities.
Statewide authorities report that the number of hit and run accidents has significantly increased from 2013 to 2014. Over the last few years, a number of laws have been created to combat this issue. One example is a law that increased the criminal punishment for an individual convicted of hit and run. Specifically, the law would impose a minimum mandatory prison term of four years for any person who fled the scene of a fatal accident. This is the same punishment that one would get for DUI manslaughter.
In Florida v. Dorsett, the Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that in order to obtain a criminal conviction for a hit and run case, the prosecutor must show that the defendant had “actual knowledge” of being involved in a wreck.