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If you are involved in an automobile accident in Dallas or McKinney, or anywhere else in the state of Texas, it is your duty under the law, to stop and remain at the scene and identify yourself. Keep in mind that the law will vary depending on the type of accident.

What if My Texas Hit and Run Accident Involving Injury or Death?

Texas law states that the operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of an individual must:

  • Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible;
  • Immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle does not initially stop at the scene of the accident; and
  • Remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the associated section of the law regarding information and rendering aid.

Drivers must also ensure that the vehicle is stopped in a manner which will not disrupt traffic any more than what is necessary to comply with the law. When a driver does not comply with this section of the Texas penal code, he is likely to face criminal charges. This violation will likely be charged as a Third Degree felony and the driver will face penalties resulting in up to five years in prison or up to one year in the county jail and/or fine for as much as $5,000.

Accident Involving Damage to a Vehicle in North Texas

According to state law, if the accident at issue involved damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person, the driver must:

  • Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close as possible to the scene of the accident without disrupting traffic any more than is necessary;
  • Immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident; and
  • Remain at the scene until the time when the driver complies with the associated section of the law regarding information and rendering aid.

Furthermore, if the accident at issue occurs on a main ramp, lane, shoulder, median or neighboring area of a freeway in a metropolitan city and each vehicle involved has the ability to be normally and safely driven, each driver must move his vehicle as soon as possible to an appropriate accident investigation site.

If an individual commits a violation pertaining to this section of the Texas penal code, he will face charges associated with the offense. Depending on the circumstances, the offense will be charged as one of the following:

  • Class C misdemeanor: If the damage to all vehicles totals less than $200; or
  • Class B misdemeanor: If the damage to all vehicles totals $200 or more.

A driver may also be charged for the offense of failing to comply with regulations associated with finding an appropriate accident investigation site after having an accident occur on a main ramp, lane, etc. This offense will generally lead to a charge of a Class C misdemeanor.

The law uses the term “normally and safely driven,” which is to say that the vehicle does not require towing and can be operated under its own power and in its usual manner (without incurring additional damage).

Duty to Give and Render Aid After a Dallas Hit and Run

After involvement in an automobile accident that results in injury or death of an individual, or damage to a vehicle that is being driven or occupied by a person, the driver must:

  • Offer his name and address, vehicle registration number, and proper insurance information relating to motor vehicle liability;
  • If possible and requested, present his driver’s license; and
  • Provide reasonable assistance to any individual who has been injured as a result of the accident. This includes transporting or making transportation arrangements for the person in order for him to see a physician or visit a hospital for medical treatment. This is generally required when there is a need for medical treatment or when the injured individual requests the transportation.

Texas Hit and Run: What If the Vehicle Hit is Unoccupied?

When a driver hits another vehicle and that vehicle is currently unoccupied and unattended, the driver must immediately stop and:

Attempt to locate the owner of the unattended vehicle and provide that person with his name and address; or

If the owner of the unoccupied vehicle is unable to be located, the driver must leave a written notice containing his name and address. This notice must be left in a conspicuous place in order for the other person to locate the notice.

When a driver fails to meet the requirements stated under this section of the law, he is subject to criminal charges:

  • Class C misdemeanor: When the damage to all vehicles totals less than $200; or
  • Class B misdemeanor: When the damage to all vehicles totals more than $200.

Accident Involving Damage Done to Structures After a Hit and Run in Texas

A driver has responsibilities if he hits a structure, fixture, or highway landscape with his vehicle. If this type of accident occurs, the driver must:

  • Take reasonable steps in order to locate and notify the owner of the accident and provide his name, address, and vehicle registration number to the property owner;
  • If requested by the owner, the driver should present his driver’s license; and
  • Report the accident to law enforcement if necessary.

A crime is committed when a driver fails to follow these steps associated with an accident involving this type of property damage. The driver will face:

  • Class C misdemeanor: If the damage involved totals less than $200; or
  • Class B misdemeanor: If the damage involved totals more than $200.

Who Needs to be Notified After an Accident Occurs in Texas?

When an accident has occurred which involved injury or death of an individual, or damage to the vehicle so much so that is rendered unsafe, information regarding the matter must be communicated to:

  • The local police department if the accident occurred in a municipality; or
  • The local police or sheriff’s department if the accident occurred not more than 100 feet outside the limits of a municipality.

Contact an Attorney

Hit and Run charges can be burdensome and costly. If you have been arrested and charged with hit-and-run related offenses in Dallas or Collin County, contact an experienced defense attorney from The Wilder Firm to help you with your case and ensure that your rights are protected.

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