West Boca Raton High School student accused of hitting a deputy’s vehicle, faces several – potentially – exaggerated charges:
Striking a car and leaving the accident scene can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. If the accident involves injury or death to any person, then leaving the scene can be charged as a felony. If the accident only resulted in property damage then a misdemeanor can be charged. Unfortunately, fear and surprise affects young driver’s decision making after an accident. I have represented many young persons who get scared following accidents and don’t know how to respond. As a result they drive away. It is never a good idea to leave the scene of an accident regardless of the severity of the accident. Most times the only criminal charge that results from an accident is one for leaving the scene. The reality is, car accidents happen. That is why they are called accidents.
This story from Boca Raton, says that the driver was arrested for aggravated battery and leaving the scene of the accident with injuries, both felony charges, and an unknown drug charge. I am highly suspicious of those charges. Aggravated Battery could be charged if the driver rammed the police car intentionally and the officer was hurt or thrown about in the interior. From the article it appears that the student just backed into the car and left. I note that the article does not indicate whether the police car was damaged or whether the student’s car was damaged. I also note that article does not indicate whether the student’s actions were intentional, i.e. did he intentionally strike the police car. The officers are likely exaggerating the circumstances to make this case worse for the student.
To me the facts of this case may support a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of an accident and possession of the unknown drug.
However, had the student stopped on scene, he would likely only be facing a single charge for drug possession.
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