Every hit-and-run case is unique, and there’s no way to predict how someone is going to react to extreme human emotions such as panic and terror. The circumstances surrounding a hit-and-run accident and how a driver reacts at the scene are essential factors when it comes to determining guilt or innocence.
When you’ve hit someone’s car with your own, or you’ve hit another vehicle with passengers, or a pedestrian, you are instantly panicked, thinking about the potential consequences you might face and the damage you’ve done.
In Texas, you’re required by law to remain at the scene of an accident until law enforcement arrives. You are also required by law to exchange your identifying information, such as:
- Your name and address;
- Your insurance company name;
- Your car’s license plate number; and
- Your driver’s license number.
Additionally, you are required to give assistance to anyone who has been injured at the accident site, including calling 911 or transporting the injured party to an emergency room yourself.
Failing to stop after you’ve been involved in an accident where there were injuries or death can result in a misdemeanor or felony hit-and-run conviction. Failing to stop after you’ve been involved in an accident that resulted in property damage, such as hitting a parked car, can result in being charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
Texas takes hit-and-run accidents very seriously. If you have been involved in an accident in the Dallas area and left the scene, you need to immediately contact an attorney who is experienced in defending criminal traffic charges, such as attorney RJ Harber. If you fail to be proactive, you could be looking at jail or prison time, enormous fines, driver’s license suspension, and a permanent criminal record.
Dallas Hit-and-Run Laws
Accidents Involving Property Damage
The Texas Transportation Code states that a driver who was involved in an accident that resulted in property damage to a parked car must attempt to find the owner of the car that they hit. If the owner is unable to be located, they are required to leave a note in a conspicuous place stating their name and address. Contact information should also be given.
If the driver fails to leave a note on the car that they have damaged, they may be charged with the following:
- Class C misdemeanor if the damage is less than $200, as well as a fine up to $500;
- Class B misdemeanor if the damage is over $200, a fine up to $2000, and up to 180 days in jail.
If the property damage was to a fixture or landscaping near a road, reasonable steps must be taken to notify the owner or caretaker of the property that the damage has occurred.
If the driver leaves the scene of an accident where property damage to a fixture or landscaping has occurred, they may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor and a fine up to $500.
Accidents Involving Injuries or Death
The driver of a vehicle who was involved in an accident that caused injury or death to another person is required to stop their car, contact law enforcement, and remain at the scene with the victim until law enforcement arrives. If the driver leaves the scene, they are required to return to the scene to exchange contact information with any other drivers.
Failing to remain at the scene of an accident where death or severe injury has occurred may result in a third-degree felony conviction, punishable by two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If the injuries are not severe, the punishment is up to five years in prison or up to one year in county jail, and a fine of up to $5,000.
Driving Record Points for Hit-and-Run
Texas has a “point system” for moving violation convictions which is part of their Driver Responsibility Program. This means that if you are involved in an accident, your driving record will receive points based on what the violation was. A moving violation such as a misdemeanor hit-and-run will result in two points on your driving record. A collision will result in three points on your driving record.
If you receive six or more points on your record over a three-year period, you’ll be required to pay a surcharge of $100 for the first six points and a $25 surcharge for each point you get on your driving record after that. The surcharge is a fee paid to the Texas Department of Public Safety, and your records will be reviewed annually. If you continue to have six or more points on your record, you will be required to pay this fee on a yearly basis.
I can help you.
My name is RJ Harber and I am a criminal attorney in the Dallas area. My expertise lies in the area of criminal traffic law, and I can help you if you’ve been charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Call me at (214) 389-1189 or fill out our contact form to set up a free, 100% confidential consultation.