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Is it a crime to leave the scene of an accident?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Nobody expects to be involved in a car crash when they set out on their journey. The majority of people go about their daily business on the Texas roadways without issue.

Accidents do happen though, and human responses can vary when a crash does occur. Some people remain composed and know exactly what to do. Others might panic and leave the scene of the accident.

If you leave the scene of an accident, can you be charged with a criminal offense?

The law places expectations on you

The Texas transportation Code places some key obligations on drivers who are involved in a crash. Failure to adhere to the four requirements set out below could see the individual charged with a hit-and-run offense;

  1. For crashes involving property damage, drivers must take “reasonable steps” to find the owner of that property. Contact details, such as driver’s registration should be passed on and if the total damage exceeds $1000, then a police report must be filled.
  2.  For unattended vehicles, the driver must try to locate the owner. If this is not possible, then a note containing contact information must be left in a conspicuous place.
  3. For attended vehicles, drivers are expected to stop at the nearest safe location and provide contact information.
  4. For accidents involving injury or death, drivers must pull over immediately and render aid. Contact details and other relevant information must also be passed on to law enforcement.

The severity of the penalty for a hit-and-run conviction will depend on specific circumstances, such as whether or not someone was injured or killed. Ultimately, a prison sentence is a real possibility. If you’ve been accused of such a hit-and-run then it is vital to build a defense strategy. Having legal guidance on your side will help you to obtain a more favorable outcome.