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Fort Lauderdale Hit and Run Accident Investigations: How Law Enforcement Tracks Down Offenders

You were driving home after a stressful day at work when, in a split second, you made a choice that changed everything – you fled the scene of a hit and run accident you caused. Maybe you were distracted and then you panicked, but leaving the scene in Florida is a crime with serious consequences.

Yet, with the combined forces of the Sheriff’s Department, Florida Highway Patrol, and the Police Department, laying low isn’t an option. These professionals are armed with cutting-edge tools and technology, making evasion nearly impossible.

Law enforcement has a wealth of experience tracking down hit and run offenders. This isn't surprising given the recent data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which reveals a staggering average of over 103,000 hit and run incidents annually on Florida roads.

In bustling cities like Fort Lauderdale, the frequency of such incidents becomes even more pronounced. To put it into perspective, Broward County alone accounted for 11,588 of those accidents, with 2,308 resulting in injuries and 41 lives tragically cut short.

In this blog, we'll share how law enforcement tracks down offenders and why it’s critical to be proactive regarding your legal support if you face a hit and run charge. Remember, a momentary lapse doesn't define you. How you address it, however, does make all the difference.

Have you caused a Fort Lauderdale hit and run accident and fled the scene? Call the Law Offices of R. David Williams, P.A. at (954) 522-9997 to schedule a FREE consultation with a hit and run attorney to discuss your legal options. We will fight for your rights!

Tracking Down Hit and Run Drivers

Eye Witnesses

One of the most critical pieces of evidence that authorities gather after a hit and run is eyewitness statements and descriptions. Witnesses can provide valuable information about the car involved in the crash, its license plate number, and even the driver's physical appearance.

Law enforcement officers will canvass the area around the accident scene for witnesses who can help them piece together what happened.

They might also check with nearby businesses for surveillance footage, parking lot logs, or payment records. The wealth of information from these sources is pivotal, making them instrumental in investigations.

Traffic Cameras

Most roads in Fort Lauderdale have traffic cameras that capture footage of passing vehicles. These cameras can provide critical information about the car involved in the hit and run accident, including its model, color, and license plate.

Investigators can use this footage to help identify the driver, and the footage is often used as evidence in court.

Social Media

Believe it or not, social media can play a role in finding hit and run drivers. Law enforcement officers may scour social media sites for any posts or mentions of a hit and run in the area.

Sometimes, drivers will brag about getting away with a hit and run on social media, which can lead to their arrest.

Tips from the Public

The public can be a valuable asset in finding hit and run drivers. After an accident, law enforcement officers will often ask the public for any information about the vehicle or driver involved.

Members of the public can also call in tips to law enforcement or the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, which can help them identify the driver and locate their car.

Crime Labs

The precision of forensic science is invaluable when investigating hit and run incidents. After an accident, it's common for vehicles to leave behind certain types of evidence. DNA, for example, can be a key element in identifying the person at the wheel during the incident.

Beyond DNA, the vehicle damaged in a hit and run often provides other clues. Investigators meticulously analyze this vehicle for physical evidence—paint chips, glass fragments, and the like. These can hint at the specific type or model of the vehicle involved.

For a real-world application of this process, consider reading a recent news article titled “DNA Reveals Truth About Deadly Hit-and-Run in Fort Lauderdale: Police.” It's a clear example of how forensic science can play a pivotal role in revealing the truth behind an accident.

License Plate Recognition Technology

The government has installed license plate recognition technology in various places around the state. This technology is used to identify cars involved in various crimes, including hit-and-run accidents.

The technology records the license plate of any car that passes by, and authorities can quickly access the records to find that car.

Collaborating with Other Jurisdictions

Finally, it's common for hit and run drivers to flee beyond city limits, thinking they'll evade capture. However, Fort Lauderdale law enforcement often collaborate with neighboring jurisdictions, sharing information and resources.

This combined effort ensures that even if the offender crosses into another area, the chances of them escaping justice are slim.

Hit and Run Penalties in Fort Lauderdale

Criminal Record

A hit and run isn't just a traffic violation—it's a criminal offense. A crash with injuries could lead to a second- or third-degree felony. Even once you pay your debt to society, having a conviction on your record can affect your job opportunities, housing applications, and more.

You will face the following penalties if you flee the scene of a hit and run accident:

Incident Type

Potential Prison Time
Potential Fine
Leaving the Scene of an accident that caused property damage Second-degree misdemeanor Up to 60 days $500
Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Injury Third-degree felony Up to 5 years $5,000
Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Serious Injury Second-degree felony Up to 15 years $10,000
Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Death First-degree felony Mandatory minimum of 4 years and up to 30 years $10,000

License Suspension or Revocation

Even if you don’t end up in jail, consider how integral driving is to your daily life – commuting to work, running errands, and attending social gatherings. In Florida, if you're convicted of a hit and run involving injuries, you stand to have your driver's license revoked for a minimum of three years.

Increased Insurance Premiums

After an incident, your insurance company might see you as a high-risk driver, leading to a potential hike in your premiums. This financial setback can impact you for years.


Apart from fines, you may be required to pay restitution, covering the victim's medical bills, property damage, and other related costs.

Community Service

Often, courts may mandate community service hours. While it's a chance to give back, it's also a time-consuming consequence of a momentary lapse in judgment.

Remember, understanding these penalties isn't meant to scare you but to prepare you. Taking proactive steps, like consulting with a hit and run attorney, can significantly influence the outcome of your case.

Facing Consequences from a Hit and Run Charge? Here’s Your Next Step

Facing a hit and run charge in Fort Lauderdale? It's a stressful ordeal, but you don't have to face it alone. With over 25 years of experience defending the rights of Floridians, Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer David Williams knows the intricacies of the legal landscape across Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, and throughout Florida.

You can rely on Mr. Williams to clearly explain your legal obligations and potential consequences. He will meticulously review evidence, investigate the accident scene, and compile compelling witness testimonies. His skill and experience allow him to negotiate effectively with the prosecution, potentially reducing charges or penalties.

Hit and runs are complex and often challenging. But remember, you're not just another case number at the Law Offices of R. David Williams. You will receive personal attention from Mr. Williams as he develops a defense strategy tailored to your unique situation.

Ensure your rights are protected. Contact us at (954) 522-9997 or through our online form for a FREE consultation. Reach out today and let us help you reclaim your life.

Copyright © 2023. Law Offices of R. David Williams, P.A. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (post) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Law Offices of R. David Williams, P.A.
15 Southwest 10th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
(954) 522-9997

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