Hit and Run, Leaving the Scene of an Accident
With the number of drivers on the road going up, there is a rise in accidents. But sometimes, when you get in an accident, you make the decision to leave the scene. This is an offense in the State of Texas.
Under Texas state law you have the following duties after an accident:
- Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene or close to it
- Immediately return to the scene of the collision
- Immediately determine if a person was involved in the accident and whether they need aid
- If no person is involved or injured, or the a vehicle struck is unattended, the driver must attempt to locate the owner of the vehicle and provide them with their name and address so that insurance may be exchanged.
- If the owner of the vehicle is not able to be located, leave attached in a conspicuous place, the driver’s name and address. Texas State Transportation Code
Failure to do above will result in charges. If the damages are over $200 it will be a class B misdemeanor. If injury is involved, it could be a felony.
BUT HERE IS THE BIGGEST DETAIL ABOUT THESE OFFENSES:
This offense does not go with the car. It goes with the driver. The difficulty for the State can be identifying who was driving the car. Even though there is a presumption that the registered owner is the driver, a presumption is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to convict, the State must prove beyond reasonable doubt who was driving the vehicle and failed to leave their information.
When insurance gets involved it can get complicated. You do not want to refuse to cooperate with the insurance but the police may obtain any statement you give in order to prove your criminal culpability. Further, insurance paying out on the damages does not prevent the police from filing criminal charges against you.
If you find yourself involved in this type of offense, it is crucial you do not speak to the police, contact an attorney, and explore your options before it’s too late. Call us today!