If you’re charged with a hit and run in Texas, the penalties can be stiff and life-changing. Before we explore them, let’s take a closer look at what qualifies as a hit and run.
Under Texas law, a person is charged with a hit and run if he or she is involved in a car crash and leaves one or more individuals unattended and unassisted at the scene. By failing to fulfill their legal obligation to stop and render aid, the person who flees puts the victims in greater danger.
In most cases, people flee a scene of an accident because they don’t have car insurance. It’s also possible that they’re driving with an expired or suspended license. In fact, they may not have a driver’s license at all.
Many hit-and-run cases are motivated by fear. Drivers who are involved are afraid of getting arrested if they’ve been drinking or potentially facing jail time if the victim or victims sustain serious injuries or pass away. Besides running from the scene, that fear motivates people to do other stupid things like provide false information, which further complicates their case.
In this blog, we’ll walk you through the penalties for a hit and run in Texas.
1. Jail Time
Texas law takes hit-and-run crimes seriously. If you commit the offense, your penalties will vary based on the gravity of the offense and the injuries/damages/deaths caused.
Under Texas law, a hit and run is punished with six months in county jail if the offense is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. In this case, the vehicle damage caused is worth more than $200.
However, if the offense results in a nonserious injury, it’s considered a felony and entails a jail sentence of up to five years.
If a hit and run results in a serious injury or death, the offense is a third-degree felony that’s punishable by a jail term of up to 10 years. That doesn’t include an additional charge of involuntary manslaughter if you were found to be driving recklessly or you were intoxicated at the time of the accident.
For Class C misdemeanors (hit and runs that result in less than $200 worth of damage), the offender is required to pay a fine of $500.
For Class B misdemeanor (involves more than $200 in vehicle damage), the maximum fine is $2,000.
For state jail felony offenses (involves an injury that’s not serious), it’s up to $5,000.
Lastly, for third-degree felony offenses (involves a serious injury or death), the fine increases to $10,000.
3. Probation/Community Supervision
If you’re found guilty, you will also be required to serve probation under community supervision. Make sure you strictly comply with the terms of your probation or you may find yourself back in jail.
Recommended Read: If I’m Arrested for DWI and Someone Dies, What Are the Charges?
If you were recently charged with a hit and run, hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can to make sure your rights are protected. Remember that you are innocent until the state proves you guilty, so call Attorney JL Carpenter to start mounting your defense now.
Click here to consult her today if you are in the Greater Houston area, including Friendswood, Houston, Clear Lake, League City, Webster, Galveston, La Porte, and Baytown.
Her practice areas include DWI, traffic offenses, driving violations, domestic violence, family violence, drug possession, and more.