HOW TO AVOID BEING INVOLVED IN A ROAD RAGE INCIDENT & WHAT TO DO WHEN IT BECOMES A CRIME

Here in Florida the summer heat can bake your parked car’s inside temperature to over 120 degrees in ten minutes. No wonder the hot cities of Florida often rank in surveys as the worst places for road rage incidents. 

The Road Runner cartoon was filled with road rage when the Coyote tried to kill the always lucky road runner.
Road Rage Coyote & Road Runner

All of us occasionally make mistakes while driving. When you see someone make a stupid driving mistake don’t rub it in their face nor even their hood. And if another driver accuses you of making a driving mistake, remember that the best rule of the road when confronted is not to let the finger pointing escalate to name calling or yelling. After all this if Florida where a retired police officer recently was accused of shooing an unarmed man at a theater for texting on his phone. 

Here are five rules to help you avoid being involved in a road rage incident where you may be arrested for an alleged criminal act no matter who is really at fault.

1. You should assume that the other driver is armed with guns, knives and other weapons and act accordingly. If you think the other driver is armed then it makes sense to stay as far from his vehicle as possible.
2. You should assume that everything you say or do is being recorded in video and audio. Not only will other vehicles will have plenty of occupants with cell phone cameras ready, there are also cameras along many roads, at intersections and along the businesses by the road.
3. You should never pull your car over to have it out with the other driver. If the other driver pulls over in hopes of fighting it out, use the opportunity to get far away. Nothing is going to be accomplished other than risking the safety of everyone in both vehicles.
4. If the other driver is using his vehicle as a weapon in an aggravated assault by driving too close to you in a threatening manner, call 911 while trying to drive to the nearest police station or other area of apparent safety.
5. As soon as an incident occurs do your best to de-escalete the situation. 

What are the possible criminal charges awaiting drivers involved in road rage? Criminal charges begin with any threat to the other driver using any weapon used during the coarse of the incident. Under Florida law the legal definition of weapon may include the vehicle itself if the car is used to threaten someone; for example, by pulling away just before a collision with the purpose of scaring the other driver which would constitute an aggravated assault. 

If a car actually does touch or strike the other car, then depending upon the damage and injury to the passengers and driver, Tampa Bay police could charge either battery or aggravated battery. Clearly a weapon fired or thrown from a moving vehicle could also result in battery or aggravated battery charges as well as throwing a deadly missile charge. If there is a collision and the driver fails to remain at the scene to render possible aid charges of hit and run will likely be filed. Further, police and prosecutors have will bring charges of vehicular homicide if a death results or murder charges if there was heat of passion or sufficient time for premeditation before the death.

The problem in many of these cases is that both drivers may be viewed by law enforcement as being at fault for allowing a bad situation to escalated into something far worse where people end up being injured. Because of the significance of the aggravated felony charges, even someone without any criminal history could find himself not only arrested but also facing a possible long term of prison if criminal charges are filed. Therefore it’s always important to avoid road rage situations that could easily escalate ruining the lives of everyone in both cars.




PINELLAS COUNTY HIT & RUN COLD CASE SOLVED WHEN DEFENDANT CALLS POLICE TO ARREST HER BOYFRIEND

Nearly a year ago a woman sped off after striking and killing a pedestrian in Pinellas Park, resulting in a classic unsolved hit and run case. The cold case could have remained unsolved if the woman herself hadn’t called the police to her home.


Foolishly, she called police to her house because she said she was afraid of her live in boyfriend, recently released from jail on worthless check charges. Maybe she was right to be apprehensive of him because he told the police she was the perpetrator of the hit and run also known as leaving the scene of an accident with injury, that she’d told him everything and when police confronted her they say she confessed.


Even though police believe the pedestrian violated the driver’s right of way that night, the driver had a legal duty under Florida Statutes to stop and identify herself and to render aid.


The St. Petersburg Times noted that a Pinellas Park police inspection of the accident vehicle revealed that it was still heavily damaged after almost a year from the fatal crash. 

“We found pieces of the turn signal and the passenger side mirror at the scene (of Fisher’s death),” said Pinellas Park police Sgt. Brian Unmisig, “and they matched the parts that the vehicle was missing.” She was booked into the Pinellas jail, where she was being held Tuesday in lieu of $52,250 bail
Criminal Defense Attorney and Trial Lawyer for Drug Crimes & DUI in Clearwater, FL

The purpose of this law is not to establish who was at fault in the accident nor to apportion blame. The idea is that anytime there is a crash involving injuries the driver must stop, identify herself and render aid if necessary. Clearly, if the driver at the scene was impaired then a DUI Manslaughter investigation will take place, if at fault without impairment a Vehicular Homicide investigation will begin, or if the accident was the result of premeditation possible Murder or Homicide charges. (see statute below)
316.027 Crash involving death or personal injuries.

(1)(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash occurring on public or private property that results in injury of any person must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close thereto as possible, and must remain at the scene of the crash until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of s. 316.062. Any person who willfully violates this paragraph commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in statutes.
(b) The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash occurring on public or private property that results in the death of any person must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close thereto as possible, and must remain at the scene of the crash until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of the law.

The Clearwater Police ask your help in solving this very Cold Case. 
File:1910Ford-T.jpg

Things have changed since this Model T was the fastest – and only – car on the road in 1910.