There are a lot of reasons people involved in a crash might leave the scene without even checking to see if the other driver and passengers are all right. They might be drinking, or they might have a suspended license or a lapsed insurance policy.
But the police have better technology and methods for catching people who have fled the scene of an accident without providing their information, and there are a whole array of punishments possible when they are caught. Whichever side of the incident you are on, you should get advice from a hit and run attorney Houston before doing something that could have long term consequences.
Legal requirements after a crash
The first thing you need to do is move your vehicle to a safe spot, if possible, to avoid further damage. Check and make sure no one needs help.
While it is not a legal requirement, summoning the police to the scene of a crash may help protect your rights later. Otherwise, it’s your word against theirs as to how much damage there was and who was at fault.
In Texas, accidents need to be reported within 10 days on a Driver’s Crash Report if the police didn’t file a report, if the accident caused injury, death or at least $1,000 worth of damage.
Criminal penalties for hit and run
If you don’t follow the rules, you can be charged with hit and run. The charge can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on circumstances such as whether or not there was a serious injury. Not every state requires other drivers to render aid, but Texas takes that very seriously and drivers could face up to 10 years in prison for failing to render aid if the injuries were serious.
Even if you cause damage to an unoccupied vehicle or an object, like a fence, you could be arrested for not leaving your information for the property owner. If you are afraid of leaving your information or unsure of the best way to do so, you can call a hit and run attorney Houston for help.
Other penalties besides jail time
The prospect of going to jail can be frightening, but there are other serious penalties the State could impose on a hit and run driver. You could receive fines, ranging up to $5,000 for a felony. You could also lose your driving privileges, making it difficult for you to work. Even when your privileges are reinstated, insurance could be very expensive.
If you are involved in a hit and run, don’t try to chase the other driver. Call the police, and call a hit and run attorney Houston.