Leaving The Scene of an Accident Notice To Appear
A notice to appear is a criminal charge in Florida. That is why the notice to appear has a court date and time on it. A notice to appear is NOT a civil citation like a traffic ticket. The notice to appear is the officer’s way of charging a person with a criminal offense without having to arrest the person and take them to jail. Officers can issue a notice to appear for certain misdemeanor charges like leaving the scene of an accident. If you do not appear in court as required a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
At the first court appearance the person issued the notice to appear will be required to enter a plea to the leaving the scene of an accident charge. The options are not quilty, guilty or nolo contendere(no contest). If the person enters a plea of not guilty they will be given another court date and the judge will ask the person if they are hiring a lawyer or representing themselves. If the person pleads guilty or no contest then the judge will impose a sentence. Since leaving the scene of an accident with property damage is a criminal charge a plea of guilty or no contest will remain on your record for the rest of your life. Leaving the scene of an accident is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail, up to 6 months on probation and up to a $500 fine. The judge can also include in the sentence driving classes, community service, cost of investigation, cost of prosecution and court cost. A conviction for leaving the scene of an accident will cause 6 points to be placed on your driving record which may cause a driver license suspension.
The mistakes the officer made in your case can mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissal. Officers are trained to follow the law and to conduct investigations properly but everyone makes mistakes, including police officers. Chris is a former prosecutor who has over 18 years experience defending people charged with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. Leaving the scene of an accident charges can be beaten for many reasons. The consultation is free so call 407-740-8300 or email Chris at chris@TheOrlandoDefenseLawyer.com to find out how Chris can help you.