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Texas Hit And Run Lawyer

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Arrested For Hit And Run In TX? Speak With A Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately

A criminal defense lawyer at Cofer & Connelly, PLLC stands ready to defend you against accusations of a hit and run, which in the state of Texas is a serious offense with life-altering consequences if convicted. We're available to provide immediate legal counsel and guidance. Call us at (512) 991-0576 or contact us online to learn more about how we can advocate for you.

If you find yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident in the state of Texas, it's crucial to know the legal obligations and potential penalties that may arise. Failure to adhere to these responsibilities could result in criminal charges, which could seriously impact your life. Below, we’ll provide an overview of Texas Transportation Code concerning duties and liabilities in various types of accidents.

What Are Your Duties If Personal Injury Or Death Occurs?

Legal Provisions

According to Texas Transportation Code Section 550.021, if you're involved in an accident that results in or could likely result in injury or death, you're required to:

  • Stop your vehicle at the scene or as close to the scene as possible.
  • Return to the accident scene if your vehicle is not stopped there.
  • Assess if anyone is injured and if they need aid.
  • Remain at the scene until you've provided reasonable assistance and required information to any injured person according to Section 550.023.

Consequences For Failure To Comply

Non-compliance with these requirements is considered a criminal offense. Specifically:

  • If the accident results in death, it is a felony of the second degree.
  • If it results in serious bodily injury, it is a felony of the third degree.

You could also face imprisonment for up to five years, or a fine of up to $5,000, or both, if the injury is of a less severe nature.

What If The Accident Involves Damage To A Vehicle?

Legal Provisions

As per Texas Transportation Code Section 550.022, in an accident resulting only in vehicle damage, you are required to:

  • Stop your vehicle at the scene.
  • Return to the scene if your vehicle isn't stopped there.
  • Remain at the scene until you've provided required information to any person whose property was damaged according to Section 550.023.

If the accident occurs on certain road types like freeways, and the vehicles involved can be driven safely, you should move them to a suitable location.

Consequences For Failure To Comply

Failure to fulfill these requirements is also a criminal offense:

  • It’s a Class C misdemeanor if the total damage is less than $200.
  • It’s a Class B misdemeanor if the total damage is $200 or more.

What If You Hit An Unattended Vehicle?

Legal Provisions

As detailed in Section 550.024, if you hit an unattended vehicle, you must:

  • Locate the owner or operator of the unattended vehicle and share your details.
  • If the owner cannot be located, leave a written notice with your information and the circumstances of the collision.

Consequences For Failure To Comply

Failure to meet these obligations will result in a Class C misdemeanor for damages less than $200, or a Class B misdemeanor for damages of $200 or more.

What If You Hit A Structure Or Landscaping?

Legal Provisions

According to Section 550.025, if you're involved in an accident that only damages a structure or landscaping adjacent to a highway, you must:

  • Take steps to locate and notify the property owner.
  • Share your name, address, and vehicle registration.

Consequences For Failure To Comply

Again, failure to comply is a criminal offense. It's a Class C misdemeanor for damages less than $200, and a Class B misdemeanor for damages of $200 or more.

Potential Defenses Under Texas Transportation Code: Navigating Your Way Out Of Legal Trouble

Lack Of Knowledge About The Accident

The law requires the driver to determine if a person is involved in the accident and if that person requires aid, or if there is damage to the vehicle. One potential defense is that you were unaware an accident had occurred. This defense could argue that you didn’t know you had been involved in an accident, and therefore could not have knowingly fled the scene or failed to provide assistance.

No Obstruction To Traffic

Under Texas law, you should stop your vehicle without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. If you are charged with obstructing traffic, a defense could be mounted to prove that you stopped your vehicle in a manner that did not unduly obstruct traffic, or that it was necessary to do so in order to comply with other sections of the statute.

Medical Emergency Or Necessity

The statute requires the driver to stop and provide aid in cases of personal injury or death (Section 550.021) or assess the damage in case of vehicle accidents (Section 550.022). A medical emergency on your part may be used as a defense for why you didn’t stop at the scene. However, this is a complicated defense that would likely require medical evidence and expert testimony.

Mistaken Identity Or False Accusation

A charge requires that you were the operator of the vehicle involved in the accident. Perhaps you weren’t the one driving, or perhaps your vehicle was mistakenly identified as being involved in the accident. In such cases, eyewitness testimonies, surveillance footage, or alibis could be used to prove you were not involved.

Damage Was Not Over The Statutory Limit

The law differentiates between damages less than $200 and $200 or more for determining the class of misdemeanor. If you can prove that the damages were less than the statutory limit, you might be able to reduce the charges from a Class B to a Class C misdemeanor, which carries lesser penalties.

Frequently Asked Questions Based On Texas Transportation Code

What Am I Required To Do If I'm Involved In An Accident Resulting In Personal Injury Or Death?

According to Section 550.021, you are required to stop your vehicle at the accident scene, assess whether anyone is injured and needs aid, and remain at the scene until you comply with Section 550.023, which usually involves providing your contact and insurance information.

Can I Move My Vehicle After An Accident?

Yes, but with stipulations. You should move your vehicle only if it does not obstruct traffic more than necessary. In metropolitan areas, if the vehicles involved can be driven safely, they should be moved to a designated area or frontage road to avoid disrupting freeway traffic.

What Are The Penalties For Fleeing The Scene Of An Accident?

Fleeing the scene of an accident involving death is a felony of the second degree. If serious bodily injury is involved, it's a felony of the third degree. Penalties can range from imprisonment to fines or both. Lesser accidents involving only vehicle damage could lead to Class B or C misdemeanors.

What If I Hit An Unattended Vehicle?

If you hit an unattended vehicle, you're required to locate the owner or leave a written notice with your details and a statement of the circumstances of the collision. Failure to do so is a misdemeanor, the class of which depends on the extent of the damage.

What If I Strike A Building Or Landscape?

You must take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner of the damaged property. You may be asked to show your driver’s license. The offense is a Class C misdemeanor if the damage is less than $200 and a Class B misdemeanor if it’s $200 or more.

What If I Wasn't Aware I Was Involved In A Hit And Run Accident?

Lack of awareness could potentially serve as a defense, but it's a complex area of the law. The statute requires you to be aware that an accident has occurred, so you may be able to argue on those grounds.

Do I Have To Report Every Single Accident?

While the law mostly focuses on your immediate duties at the scene of the accident, the law requires reporting accidents to law enforcement under certain circumstances, like when there is injury, death, or significant property damage.

Let Our Austin Hit And Run Attorneys Clarify Your Situation

If you find yourself facing hit and run charges in Texas, it's crucial to consult with a Texas criminal defense law firm immediately. Legal professionals can offer an accused hit and run driver tailored guidance and possibly help them avoid severe penalties. Cofer & Connelly, PLLC experienced criminal defense attorneys are ready to defend your rights and help get your hit and run case resolved on the most favorable grounds possible. At Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, we have the skills and knowledge to make a real difference in your case. Contact us at (512) 991-0576 or online for a consultation. Don't compromise on quality when your future is at stake.
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