Hit and Run in Texas: Reasons, Penalties, Defenses

Serving Families Throughout Austin

Texas’ Hit and Run Penalties

Penalties for hit and run are very strict in Texas, however they depend upon the degree of damage at the scene. Penalties are much less harsh if no physical injuries to persons involved occurred, yet you can still be punished for failing to stop even if no one was hurt.

  • Failure to stop and render aid. If a person fails to stop and render aid following an accident when injuries or even death result, serious charges are an eminent possibility. If convicted, it is considered a third degree felony in Texas. This penalty is punishable by to 2 to 10 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Failure to stop and give information. Even if no one is hurt in the collision, it is important that all parties involved stop to exchange information. If anyone fails to do so, they could be charged with failure to stop and give information. If convicted, this is considered a Class B Misdemeanor in Texas. This conviction is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and $2000 fine.

What You Are Expected To Do After An Accident

Many people do not know the exact etiquette to follow once a car accident has occurred. However, each of the things listed below are important steps to take at the scene of the accident. They include:
Exchange personal information. After an accident, you are expected to stop and exchange names, addresses, and phone numbers.

  • Give insurance information. This is completely necessary to settle any and all damage to personal property.
  • Provide registration number of car involved. Another important aspect of the insurance claim process.
  • Proof of drivers license. It is important to make sure that each driver involved has a valid driver’s license.
  • Call law enforcement or medical aid. This is crucial if anyone is injured. Also, for serious accidents, a police report must be made.

Say that after an accident, you flee out of fear and shock, but return after a while, once you realize what you have done. This is technically still a hit and run, but it is definitely more excusable than if you did not return at all. It is possible that if you return to render aid or exchange information that the charges could be dropped or dismissed.

Common Reasons For Not Stopping

At Carroll Troberman, PLLC, we understand that failing to stop after an accident does not mean you are a bad person, but simply had a lapse in judgement and made a mistake. There are many reasons why a person does not stop to render aid or exchange information. Though these are definitely not all of the reasons why a person does not stop after a car accident, some include:

  • Intoxication: Alcohol or Drug Use. This is probably one of the most common reasons for failing to stop at the scene of an accident, and therefore, committing a hit and run offense. However, because this is so common, many investigators assume this was a contributing factor to failing to stop. As a result, investigators will look into this as well when investigating a suspect, and if they find evidence of alcohol and drugs, they could charge the person will DWI or Intoxication Manslaughter in addition to the hit and run charge. If intoxication was a factor in your decision not to stop after an accident, it is imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney–there is a possibility that you have a number of charges coming your way.
  • Invalid License. Whether a person’s license has been revoked or suspended, failing to stop after an accident is often due to an invalid license. It is also very common for illegal immigrants to engage in hit and runs to avoid deportation. If you are charged with hit and run, you face both charges of driving with an invalid license and failure to stop and render aid/give information.
  • Uninsured. There are thousands of uninsured motorists on the road. Often, this is the cause of a hit and run. Many people would rather risk getting caught for hit and run than having to explain not having insurance to law enforcement that may show up.

Contact An Attorney Right Away

If you know that you have recently committed a hit and run, you should contact a criminal defense attorney, even before investigators get in contact with you. If you are arrested and questioned, it is always best to execute your right to remain silent. Otherwise, you will simply be fueling the prosecution’s case against you. A criminal defense attorney will be prepared at the moment of arrest and make sure that you are not fooled into providing too much, often incriminating information. At Carroll Troberman Criminal Defense, we are here for you at all times– available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Possible Hit and Run Defenses

If you are facing hit and run charges, like we have said, it is important that you act quickly and contact a criminal defense lawyer. The sooner you act, the quicker your criminal defense attorney can begin to build your defense. An attorney with experience in hit and run cases will know the best possible defense strategies for your case so that your penalties may be lessened. For instance, you may have failed to stop out of fear for your own personal safety. Maybe the other driver involved showed aggressive behavior towards you, and you were fearful that you would be injured or “beat up” if you stopped. On the other hand, it is very possible not to be aware of your involvement in a hit and run, especially if the accident was very minor. Overall, the defense strategy used for your hit and run case truly depends on the facts surrounding the accident.

Why Should You Choose Carroll Troberman?

At Carroll Troberman, PLLC, attorneys Blair Carroll and Shelly Troberman are very experienced in various types of criminal defense cases, specifically in hit and run charges. If you are facing hit and run charges, you need a criminal defense attorney you can trust– someone who will act quickly and aggressively to defend your rights and your freedom. If you have any questions about hit and run, or need an Austin criminal defense attorney to take on your case, do not hesitate to contact Carroll Troberman, PLLC.