Your Defense Against Hit-and-Run Charges in Dallas

Under Texas law, every individual is required to stop their vehicle after an accident in which bodily harm, property damage, or death occurs. Failure to do this is referred to as a "hit-and-run," and anyone guilty of the offense faces criminal charges. If you were charged with a hit-and-run in Texas, you have a long and intense legal battle ahead of you. However, with the right Dallas criminal defense attorney on your side, you have a shot at both redemption and freedom. Do not leave your future up to chance. Contact Clark Law Group to discuss your case and possible defense options.

Common Causes of Hit-and-Run Accidents

If you caused an accident that resulted in serious injury, property damage, or death, it is understandable that you were feeling scared and panicked at the time of the incident, which is probably why you left. You are not alone. People flee the scenes of accidents on a daily basis for more or less the same reasons. However, many more people leave for the following reasons:

  • They were intoxicated or impaired at the time of the accident;
  • They did not have insurance;
  • They did not have a driver's license;
  • They had a warrant out for their arrest; and
  • They committed a crime prior to the accident.

Whatever your reasons for leaving the scene of the accident were, do not try to explain them to the judge on your own. Work with a skilled lawyer who understands the law and who has the experience necessary to argue your case and paint you as an upstanding, caring citizen who just made a simple mistake.

Consequences for Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in Texas, and any person charged with a hit and run faces charges that range from a Class B misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. The penalty structure for hit-and-run is as follows:

  • Third degree felony for failing to stop after an accident involving serious injury, which carries a punishment of two to 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine;
  • Third degree felony for failing to stop after an accident involving injury, which carries a punishment of up to five years in prison or one year in county jail, and/or a fine of not more than $5,000;
  • Class C misdemeanor for failing to stop after an accident that results in less than $200 worth of damage, which carries a punishment of a fine not more than $500; and
  • Class B misdemeanor for failing to stop after an accident that results in more than $200, which carries a punishment of up to 180 days in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Whether you are looking at third degree felony or a Class C misdemeanor, your future is at stake. A criminal conviction can prevent you from getting jobs in the future, make it difficult for you to get credit or decent insurance, and negatively affect your life in a number of other ways.

Your Defense to Hit-and-Run Charges

Hit-and-run charges are difficult to beat, as you either stayed at the scene of the accident or you did not. That said, the right attorney can fight on your behalf by using the law to your advantage. Some defenses a skilled lawyer might use include:

  • The accident only caused injury to you. One of the defining elements of a hit-and-run in Texas is that injury or damage occurred to another person or property.
  • You did not willfully leave the scene. If you were forced to leave the scene because conditions were unsafe, or if you were so severely injured that you had to get to the hospital, you may have a case.
  • You did not realize that the other person was injured. Though this defense is not the best, it can work if, say, the other party told you he or she was okay and you left only after getting the go-ahead. However, if you use this defense, know that you may still be charged with negligent or reckless driving.

The Best Defense Begins With a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney

If you were charged with a hit-and-run in Texas, your future may be on the line. Not only do you face possible jail time and hefty fines, but you also face a life-long criminal record. Our Dallas criminal defense attorneys at Clark Law Group can help you fight the charges in the best way we know how—with the law. Call our office today to schedule your private consultation.

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