A hit-and-run offense occurs when any driver involved flees the scene of an accident instead of staying to analyzing the situation, providing assistance (if needed) and calling the police. Failure to stop and give information (FSGI) is type of hit-and-run crime.
When a driver leaves the scene of an accident and fails to give information, typically he or she is trying to avoid the consequences of being found at fault for the accident. The driver fleeing may not have insurance, may have a suspended license, may have been drinking and driving, or may not be legally in the US—or may simply be afraid or not thinking clearly. Whatever the reason, if a driver flees the accident scene without providing the mandatory information about themselves, including proof of insurance, and if there is no injury or they’re not at fault for the accident, they have committed an FSGI. The hit-and-run offense becomes more severe when the accident involves injury or death. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the hit-and-run laws in Texas.
1. The Charges for Hit and Run
As soon as you are charged, it’s important that you seek legal representation from a criminal defense attorney; JL Carpenter is an excellent choice. Without a legal defense, you could face severe penalties for a hit and run, depending on the type of accident and the damage caused.
Did someone get injured? Was someone fatally injured? Was there another type of damage caused? If so, what was the extent of it?
If you fail to stop after an auto accident that causes less than $200 worth of property damage to a vehicle, fixture, or landscaping on a highway, you will be charged with a Class C misdemeanor that holds up to a $500 fine. If the vehicle, fixture, or landscaping property damage is in excess of $200, you will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which holds a fine of up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail.
If you struck an unattended vehicle and caused less than $200 in property damage, you’ll face a Class C misdemeanor, which holds up to a $500 fine. If the damage was in excess of $200, it’s a Class B misdemeanor with a fine of up to $2,000 and no more than 180 days in jail.
The situation is a lot more serious if you leave the scene of an accident that resulted in someone’s injury or death. If the outcome was a serious injury or death, you’ll face a third-degree felony charge, which holds a punishment of two to 10 years in prison. The charge is a county jail felony if the accident caused an injury that wasn’t serious. In this case, you’ll face up to five years in state prison and a possible fine of up to $5,000.
2. What Should I Do After an Auto Accident?
If you’re involved in an auto accident, you have certain legal responsibilities. Following the accident, immediately pull over close to the scene. Quickly scan the scene and determine whether anyone needs help. If they do, provide the most suitable assistance possible.
If you’re a doctor and medically trained to handle such a situation, act fast and reasonably, and call for additional medical help. If you don’t have any training, simply call for medical help.
You are also expected to call the police immediately. Stay at the scene until medical help and the police arrive. Provide all the information the police request from you.
3. I Was Involved in a Hit and Run. What Should I Do?
While everybody wants to do the right thing and maintain their composure in such a high-pressure situation, things can often go wrong. If you panicked and took off, your future and freedom are at risk, so you will need a lawyer to represent you as you face hit-and-run charges.
Attorney JL Carpenter is a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney in the Greater Houston area who fights for her clients. She builds an aggressive defense with the goal of achieving the most favorable outcome possible.