Back on New Years Eve of last year, a young boy was struck by a hit-and-run driver and seriously injured as he was playing basketball with his friends. About three weeks after the incident, the driver involved in the hit-and-run was arrested and charged with causing personal injury, a second-degree felony. However, according to a recent news source, the woman was arraigned earlier this month and the charges have been upgraded to reflect the fact that she allegedly fled the scene.
Evidently, the woman now faces second-degree felony charges that could land her in prison for the next 15 years if she is convicted. The woman’s attorney disagreed with the change in charges and told reporters that he hopes to get statements made by his client to police suppressed at trial.
Florida Injury Cases and Suppressed Evidence
In order to prove a case against a defendant in a Florida court, the plaintiff must present evidence supporting their claims. All evidence must meet several hurdles in order to be admissible. The two primary hurdles that all evidence must clear are that the evidence must be relevant and that it must also be probative.
In criminal cases, where the defendant is being charged by the government, there are additional rules that must be followed. Most of these involve protecting the constitutional rights of the accused. However, these rules generally do not apply in civil cases where one party is seeking financial compensation from another. This means that judges presiding over civil cases may allow more evidence to be considered than criminal judges.
For example, assume that after an accident a driver admits to being drunk to police. Further assume that in a criminal trial brought against the driver, for whatever reason the statement is suppressed because it was taken in violation of the driver’s constitutional rights. That does not necessarily mean that the very same statement cannot come in against the driver in a civil case for damages brought by the accident victim.
The difference in the two situations is what is at stake for the defendant. In the criminal case, it is the driver’s freedom that is at stake (because the conviction may result in a jail sentence). In the civil trial, however, a judgment against the defendant could only result in a court ordering him to compensate the plaintiff financially. Since the rights involved are different, the rules used to sort through the available evidence are also different.
Have You Been Involved in a Serious Florida Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of serious Florida motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to monetary damages based on the negligent conduct of the other party. It is important to keep in mind that liability is only proven through admissible evidence and that failure to properly prepare a case can result in a case’s early dismissal. To learn more about Florida personal injury actions, and to discuss your case with a dedicated attorney, call 352-387-8700 today.
More Blog Posts:
Deerfield Beach Accident Involving Car and Pick-Up Truck Kills One Child, Injures Several Others, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 15, 2015.
Walgreen’s Pharmacy Facing Several Claims of Pharmacy Errors, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 18, 2015.