Leaving the Scene of an Accident Is a Crime in Abilene, TX

June 14, 2024 | By Law Offices of David M. White
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Is a Crime in Abilene, TX

The fear, confusion, and panic that occurs during a car accident and shortly afterward can overwhelm some people. Your fight-or-flight response kicks in, and you may leave the scene without fully considering the consequences.

However, leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in Abilene, TX, that can have life-altering repercussions.

If authorities have charged you with leaving the scene of an accident in Abilene, contact an Abilene criminal defense lawyer to get the information you need about your rights and options for mounting an effective defense.

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What Constitutes Leaving the Scene of an Accident?

The Texas Transportation Code governs the duties of drivers involved in accidents.

According to Texas law, leaving the scene of an accident, or hit and run, occurs when a driver involved in a collision fails to:

  • Stop their vehicle immediately at the scene or as close to it as possible without obstructing traffic
  • Provide their name, address, vehicle registration number, and insurance information to the other parties involved
  • Render reasonable assistance to any injured persons

Examples of leaving the scene of an accident include:

  • Driving away after a collision (regardless of how severe) without stopping to exchange information or check on the well-being of others involved
  • Providing false or incomplete information before leaving the scene
  • Failing to report the accident to the police when required by law
  • Hitting a pedestrian and failing to stop and provide assistance
  • Crashing into a parked car or private property and fleeing without leaving contact information

Penalties for Violating Texas’ Hit and Run Laws

Misdemeanor Charges

Leaving the scene of an accident that results in damage to a vehicle is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. If the accident causes injury, it is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Felony Charges (If Injury or Death Occurs)

Criminal Defense lawyer

If the accident results in serious bodily injury or death, leaving the scene is a third-degree felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Abilene law enforcement takes hit and run accidents seriously and will investigate to identify and apprehend drivers who leave the scene. They may use witness statements, surveillance footage, and other evidence to build a case against the offender.

Possible Defenses and Mitigating Factors

A criminal charge is just that—a charge. You can defend yourself in a court of law, but you need the knowledge, resources, and skills of a defense lawyer to help you get the best results. Some of the defense options your attorney may explore and use include:

Lack of Knowledge About the Accident

In some cases, a driver may not know that an accident occurred. This lack of knowledge could serve as a defense if the driver can demonstrate that they had no reason to believe a collision occurred.

Fear for Personal Safety

If a driver leaves the scene due to a reasonable fear for their personal safety, such as in a high-crime area or if the other party behaves aggressively, the court may consider this a mitigating factor.

Efforts to Report the Accident or Seek Help

Report the Accident

If a driver leaves the scene but makes efforts to report the accident or seek help for injured parties, the court may view this more favorably, which could result in reduced charges or penalties.

Each hit and run case is different, and your defense options depend entirely on the facts and circumstances of your case. An attorney can advise you of your options.

Consequences of a Conviction

  • Criminal penalties (fines, jail time, etc.): As discussed earlier, the criminal penalties for leaving the scene of an accident can range from fines to jail time, depending on the severity of the offense.
  • Administrative penalties (license suspension, etc.): In addition to criminal penalties, a conviction for leaving the scene of an accident can result in administrative penalties, such as license suspension or revocation.
  • Impact on insurance rates and civil liability: A hit and run conviction can lead to increased insurance rates and may also expose the offender to civil liability if the other parties involved choose to pursue legal action.

Aside from the potential consequences to your finances and freedom, a hit and run conviction can harm your reputation in your community and may even affect your job and personal relationships. It’s vital you contact an attorney right away to explore options to lessen the possible impact on your life and future.

Hire a criminal defense lawyer for your Abilene hit and run case for several reasons:

Seeking Legal Counsel
  • A lawyer can explain the specific charges against you, the potential penalties, and the legal process involved in your case.
  • An attorney will protect your constitutional rights throughout the legal proceedings and that law enforcement follows proper procedures.
  • Your lawyer will investigate the incident, gather evidence, and interview witnesses to build a solid defense.
  • An experienced attorney can negotiate with prosecutors to potentially reduce charges, minimize penalties, or explore alternative sentencing options, such as plea bargains or diversion programs.
  • If your case goes to trial, your lawyer will present your defense, cross-examine witnesses, and argue on your behalf to achieve the best possible outcome.
  • Navigating the criminal justice system can be stressful and overwhelming. Your lawyer will provide guidance, answer your questions, and offer support throughout the process.

Remember, the sooner you involve a qualified attorney, the better they can protect your rights and devise a strong defense strategy.

Contact an Experienced Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been accused of leaving the scene of an accident in Abilene, TX, it is essential to seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Law Offices of David M. White have a proven track record of successfully defending clients facing hit and run charges in Abilene and throughout the state. Our knowledgeable and compassionate team will work tirelessly to protect your rights and secure the most favorable outcome for your case. Don't face the legal consequences of leaving the scene of an accident alone. Contact The Law Offices of David M. White today for a confidential consultation and learn how we can protect your future.

Schedule a free consultation