In Texas, leaving the scene of an accident is unlawful. However, many people choose to flee, especially after they’ve been drinking. They panic because they worry about getting arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). As a driver, though, you have certain responsibilities following a crash in the Lone Star State, and leaving the scene can also result in criminal charges.
Whether you were arrested for leaving the scene, DWI, or both, you need a San Marcos, TX, criminal defense attorney handling your case.
If you flee the scene of an accident, police officers have the tools and authority to track you down. Leaving the scene of an accident, especially if it involves injuries or property damage, is a criminal offense in Texas, and the police take this very seriously.
Law enforcement agencies can use various resources, including witness statements, surveillance footage, and vehicle registration information, to identify and locate you after the accident. Never think that because you leave the scene, you are free from criminal issues.
In Texas, leaving the scene of an accident, commonly known as a hit-and-run, carries severe penalties. The consequences are stipulated under the Texas Transportation Code, and they vary based on the extent of the damage or injuries involved:
Even misdemeanor charges come with the potential for costly fines and jail time. Additionally, your driver’s license may be suspended, and you can face civil liability for damages. For felony charges, the potential for imprisonment increases significantly.
Hit-and-run accidents to avoid DWI charges only increase the chances of an arrest and charge for leaving the scene. If this happens to you, seek help from a skilled criminal defense firm.
If the police arrest you shortly after the accident, you might also face DWI charges, and this means you need a DWI defense lawyer immediately. A first-time DWI means a Class B misdemeanor charge under regular circumstances. This can mean up to 180 days in jail, fines up to $2,000, and a license suspension of two years.
If you are accused of causing an accident and serious injuries while intoxicated, you can face significantly harsher charges and penalties. This falls under the charge of intoxication assault, which is a third-degree felony. A conviction can mean two to ten years in state prison, fines up to $10,000, and other consequences.
Whether you face charges of leaving the scene, DWI, intoxication assault, or anything else, contact Mendoza Law to discuss your case. The sooner you seek professional legal help from our aggressive team, the more positive the outcome you might achieve.
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