Failure to Stop and Render Aid
Texas law provides for several different ways of committing the crime of failure to stop and render aid (often called “hit and run” or “hit and skip”). Hit and run accidents can involve another car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian. Although most hit and run cases involve only property damage to an occupied vehicle or inanimate object, the most serious cases can involve serious personal injury or even death.
Never leave the scene of a crash until you have fulfilled all of your reporting requirements and helped anyone injured in the accident. If you have already left the scene, then a criminal investigation has begun. Don't make the situation worse by trying to represent yourself.
If you are under investigation for failing to stop and render aid, then do NOT talk to any law enforcement officer until after you have retained an attorney. An attorney can help you invoke your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney represent you at every stage in your case.
Call an experienced criminal defense attorney for criminal traffic crimes to find out what you need to do right now to protect your rights and fight for the best possible resolution in your case.
Attorneys for Hit and Run in San Antonio, TX
If you were arrest for hit and run (often called "leaving the scene of an accident" or "failing to stop and render aid") then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC. Don Flanary represents clients in San Antonio and throughout Bexar County.
An attorney experienced in hit and run cases in San Antonio, TX, can help you in the following ways:
- by contacting with the investigating officer before he comes to your home or office to interrogate you;
- by helping you invoke your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney assist you at every stage of the case;
- by making the proper request to lift any hold so that you can remove your car from the impound lot;
- by contacting your insurance company and the insurance company for anyone who suffered property damage or an injury in the accident so that any civil claim can be settled under the best possible terms;
- by convincing the investigating officer not to pursue any criminal charges; or
- by helping you deal with an arrest warrant or criminal traffic citation in the event that the officer does intent to bring a criminal charge for failing to stop and render aid after an accident.
Our goal is to help you avoid any felony or misdemeanor criminal charges for leaving the scene of a crash without stopping and rendering aid. Don Flanary also represents clients charged with serious traffic crimes in the counties surrounding Bexar County including the following counties: Kendall County, Comal County, Guadalupe County, Wilson County, Atascosa County, Medina County, and Bandera County.
Call (210) 738-8383 today to discuss your case.
Penalties for Hit and Run in San Antonio, TX
Under Texas Transportation Code § 550.021, the failure to stop and render aid comes with very serious penalties when the accident involves personal injury or death.
- The penalties for failing to stop and render aid if the accident results in bodily injury include imprisonment for up to 5 years plus a fine of up to $5,000. For purposes of the hit and run statute in Texas, the term “bodily injury” means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.
- If the failure to stop and render aid occurs after an accident resulting in serious bodily injury, then the crime can be charged as a Third-Degree Felony. The term “serious bodily injury” means bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
- If the failure to stop and render aid occurs after an accident result in death, then the crime can be charged as a Second-Degree Felony.
Elements of Hit and Run in Texas
Texas law prohibits failing to stop and render aid after a motor vehicle accident that results in injury or death. The elements of the crime include:
- the defendant was a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident;
- the accident resulted in injury to or death of any person;
- the defendant failed to immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident or as close to the scene as possible;
- the defendant failed to immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident; and
- the defendant failed to remain at the scene of the accident and render to any person injured in such accident reasonable assistance, including the carrying or the making of arrangements for the carrying of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment, if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.
If you are charged with the offense of failing to stop and render aid as charged in the indictment, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC. With offices in San Antonio, Don Flanary represents clients throughout Bexar County and the surrounding counties of Kendall County, Comal County, Guadalupe County, Wilson County, Atascosa County, Medina County, and Bandera County.
Rules of the Road in Texas for Crash Investigations
Under Title 7 of the Transportation Code in Subtitle C for rules of the road sets out the rules for accidents and accidents reports in Chapter 550. Section 550.001 applies to any of the following types of motor vehicle accidents:
- a road owned and controlled by a water control and improvement district;
- a private access way or parking area provided for a client or patron by a business, other than a private residential property, or the property of a garage or parking lot for which a charge is made for storing or parking a motor vehicle; and
- a highway or other public place.
Chapter 550 also contains the duties a driver has following an accident. Under Section 550.021, the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident that results or is reasonably likely to result in injury to or death of a person shall:
- 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 is not stopped at the scene of the accident;
- immediately determine whether a person is involved in the accident, and if a person is involved in the accident, whether that person requires aid; and
- remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023.
The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident that results or is reasonably likely to result in injury or death of a person is required to stop the vehicle without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. The failure to follow these rules can subject a person to a criminal charge if he or she does not comply with the requirements of Texas law.
Penalties for Hit and Run in Texas
Under this section Section 550.021, if the accident results in:
- death of a person then the crime is charged as a felony of the second degree; or
- serious bodily injury, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, to another person is charged as a felony of the third degree.
If the crash involves an accident resulting in injury but not death or serious bodily injury, then the crime is punishable by:
- imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for not more than five years or confinement in the county jail for not more than one year; and/or
- a fine not to exceed $5,000; or
Under Section 550.022, a driver that causes an accident that involves only damage to another vehicle has the following legal obligations:
- immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close as possible to the scene of the accident without obstructing traffic 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 of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023.
If an accident occurs on a main lane, ramp, shoulder, median, or adjacent area of a freeway in a metropolitan area and each vehicle involved can be normally and safely driven, each operator shall move the operator's vehicle as soon as possible to a designated accident investigation site, if available, a location on the frontage road, the nearest suitable cross street, or other suitable location to complete the requirements of Section 550.023 and minimize interference with freeway traffic.
A person commits an offense under Section 550.022 if the person does not stop or does not comply with these requirements. The penalties for leaving the scene without stopping and rendering aid in a crash that does not involve the death or serious bodily injury of another person is punishable by the following:
- a Class C misdemeanor if the damage to all vehicles is less than $200; or
- a Class B misdemeanor if the damage to all vehicles is $200 or more.
Under Section 550.023(c-1), a person commits an offense if the person does not comply with the requirements listed above. A hit and run offense under these circumstances is charged as a Class C misdemeanor.
Under the hit and run statute in Texas, a vehicle can be normally and safely driven only if the vehicle:
- does not require towing; and
- can be operated under its own power and in its usual manner, without additional damage or hazard to the vehicle, other traffic, or the roadway.
Under Section 550.023, the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the injury or death of a person or damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person is required to do all of the following:
- give the operator's name and address, the registration number of the vehicle the operator was driving, and the name of the operator's motor vehicle liability insurer to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision;
- if requested and available, show the operator's driver's license to a person described by Subdivision (1); and
- provide any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including transporting or making arrangements for transporting the person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if the injured person requests the transportation.
Hit and Run after Striking an Unattended Vehicle
Under Section, the operator of a vehicle that collides with and damages an unattended vehicle shall immediately stop and do the following:
- locate the operator or owner of the unattended vehicle and give that person the name and address of the operator and the owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle; or
- leave in a conspicuous place in, or securely attach in a plainly visible way to, the unattended vehicle a written notice giving the name and address of the operator and the owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle and a statement of the circumstances of the collision.
The crime of leaving the scene after striking an unattended vehicle is charged as a Class C misdemeanor if the damage to all vehicles involved is less than $200, or as a Class B misdemeanor, if the damage to all vehicles involved is $200 or more.
Duty on Striking a Structure, Fixture or Highway Landscaping
Under Sec. 550.025, the operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a structure adjacent to a highway or a fixture or landscaping legally on or adjacent to a highway is required to:
- take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of the property of the accident and of the operator's name and address and the registration number of the vehicle the operator was driving;
- if requested and available, show the operator's driver's license to the owner or person in charge of the property; and
- report the accident if required by Section 550.061.
A person charged with violating the duty on striking a structure, fixture or highway landscaping can be charged with a criminal punishable as follows:
- a Class C misdemeanor, if the damage to all fixtures and landscaping is less than $200; or
- a Class B misdemeanor, if the damage to all fixtures and landscaping is $200 or more.
Duty to Immediately Report an Accident
Under Section 550.026, the operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of a person or damage to a vehicle to the extent that it cannot be normally and safely driven shall immediately by the quickest means of communication give notice of the accident to the:
- local police department if the accident occurred in a municipality;
- local police department or the sheriff's office if the accident occurred not more than 100 feet outside the limits of a municipality; or
- sheriff's office or the nearest office of the department if the accident is not required to be reported under Subdivision (1) or (2).
If a section of road is within 100 feet of the limits of more than one municipality, the municipalities may agree regarding the maintenance of reports made under Subsection (a)(2). A county may agree with municipalities in the county regarding the maintenance of reports made under Subsection (a)(2). An agreement under this subsection does not affect the duty to report an accident under Subsection (a).
Investigation of a Motor Vehicle Accident in Texas
Under Section 550.041, a peace officer who is notified of a motor vehicle accident resulting in injury to or death of a person or property damage to an apparent extent of at least $1,000 may investigate the accident and file justifiable charges relating to the accident without regard to whether the accident occurred on property to which this chapter applies.
The requirement does not apply to a privately owned residential parking area or a privately owned parking lot where a fee is charged for parking or storing a vehicle.
The Driver's Obligation to File an Accident Report
Under 550.061. the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident shall make a written report of the accident if the accident is not investigated by a law enforcement officer and the accident resulted in injury to or the death of a person or damage to the property of any one person to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more. The report must be filed with the department not later than the 10th day after the date of the accident.
The failure to file the report is a criminal offense. The proper venue for the prosecution of the offense is the county in which the accident occurred. So if the crash occurred in Bexar County, TX, then a criminal offense for leaving the scene of a crash can be prosecuted in Bexar County, TX. The Texas Department of Transportation may require:
- the operator of a vehicle involved in an accident in which a report is required by this section to file a supplemental report if the department considers the original report insufficient; and
- a witness of an accident to make a report with the department.
Traffic Accidents Today in San Antonio - Visit the website of KSAT.com to find information about car accidents that occurred in San Antonio and Bexar County, TX, today and yesterday. Find an interactive map with information on the latest local traffic reports and breaking news about traffic accidents San Antonio involving death, serious injury, and no injuries with only property damage. Also find information about criminal investigations that just began for leaving the scene of a traffic crash after failing to stop and render aid (sometimes called "hit and run"). Many of these cases are investigated by the hit and run unit of the San Antonio Police Department or the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.
Finding a Lawyer for a Hit and Run in Bexar County, TX
Whether your hit and run accident happened today or yesterday, now is the time to seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Don Flanary can contact the investigating officer as soon as possible. By having an attorney contact the investigating officer, it prevents the officer from coming to your home or work to interrogate you.
Your attorney can help you assert your right to remain silent so that you do not incriminate yourself. The attorney can also help you handle all of the issues that go along with resolving a hit and run allegation.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, December 3, 2016.