Texas Transportation Code 550.022 – Accident Involving Damage to Vehicle (Failure to Give Information, resulting in Damage to Vehicle)
WHAT IS FAILURE TO STOP AND GIVE INFORMATION IN TEXAS?
The Texas Transportation Code requires drivers involved in a crash resulting only in damage to a vehicle to immediately stop at or as close to the scene as possible, exchange names and insurance information, and determine whether anyone is in need of medical assistance. The failure to stop and give information following an accident involving damage to a vehicle is punishable as a misdemeanor in Texas.
WHAT IS THE FAILURE TO STOP AND GIVE INFORMATION LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Transp. Code § 550.022. ACCIDENT INVOLVING DAMAGE TO VEHICLE.
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person shall:
(1) 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;
(2) immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident; and
(3) remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023.
(b) 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.
(c) A person commits an offense if the person does not stop or does not comply with the requirements of Subsection (a). An offense under this subsection is:
(1) a Class C misdemeanor, if the damage to all vehicles is less than $200; or
(2) a Class B misdemeanor, if the damage to all vehicles is $200 or more.
(c-1) A person commits an offense if the person does not comply with the requirements of Subsection (b). An offense under this subsection is a Class C misdemeanor.
(d) In this section, a vehicle can be normally and safely driven only if the vehicle:
(1) does not require towing; and
(2) 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.
Tex. Transp. Code § 550.023. DUTY TO GIVE INFORMATION AND RENDER AID.
The operator 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 shall:
(1) 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;
(2) if requested and available, show the operator’s driver’s license to a person described by Subdivision (1); and
(3) 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.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR FAILURE TO STOP AND GIVE INFORMATION IN TEXAS?
Leaving the scene of a crash and failing to follow the duty to give information is punishable as a Class C misdemeanor, with a maximum $500 fine, if the damage is under $200. If a person causes $200 or more worth of damage to the other vehicle, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in county jail.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR FAILURE TO STOP AND GIVE INFORMATION IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for leaving the scene of an accident and failing to follow the duty to give information charged as a Class B misdemeanor is up to 180 days in jail, and a maximum $2,000 fine. If charged as a Class C misdemeanor, the punishment is up to a $500 fine.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO STOP AND GIVE INFORMATION IN TEXAS?
A person charged with failing to stop and give information as a Class B misdemeanor may be eligible for probation after a conviction, or deferred adjudication without a conviction, for a period not to exceed two years. The deferred adjudication term for a Class C misdemeanor may not exceed 180 days.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO FAILURE TO STOP AND GIVE INFORMATION IN TEXAS?
Regardless of fault, leaving the scene of a crash without exchanging information is punishable as a misdemeanor. The statute does not authorize specific defenses to failing to stop and give information, so a person accused thereof may attempt to negate at least one of the elements the State must prove at trial.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR FAILURE TO STOP AND GIVE INFORMATION IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for failure to stop and give information, a Class B or Class C misdemeanor, is two years.
FAILURE TO STOP AND GIVE INFORMATION IN TEXAS
In Texas, drivers involved in car accidents must remain at the scene to provide their names and insurance information, and determine whether anyone needs medical assistance. The failure to do so is punishable by criminal penalties, which depend on the damages and injuries resulting from the accident.
TEXAS FAILURE TO STOP AND GIVE INFORMATION COURT CASES
The case law regarding the failure to stop and give information following an accident involving damage to a vehicle in Texas illustrates the statute’s application.
- In Limones v. State, the defendant hit the victim’s vehicle, made eye contact, then sped away. The victim followed the defendant while on the phone with police, and saw the defendant park at his house nearby. He changed his clothes and left in another vehicle. Police arrived, and the defendant returned while police were talking to the victim outside the house. The defendant was ultimately convicted for failing to stop and give information, and the appellate court affirmed.
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DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15
Driving facts involved failing to maintain a single lane and speeding. Client refused breath test and forced law enforcement to obtain search warrant for blood. Blood test result was not used after challenge from Defense, and State waived and abandoned charge.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client was a college student, worried about the collateral consequences of an alcohol offense. After negotiation and review of the traffic stop, the case was dismissed. Client received no criminal conviction. The charge was later expunged and deleted from client’s record.
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15+
Client was involved in minor accident. Client was at fault in accident. A young executive, client was concerned that a criminal conviction for DWI would result in termination. After review of the traffic stop, it was clear the officer lacked probable cause for arrest. State eventually dismissed DWI charge. Client received no criminal conviction.
Client, a military veteran, was facing up to one year in jail. State could not prove intoxication by alcohol, and was prepared to proceed on loss of use by marijuana. After challenging the State to prove that marijuana was ingested at or near time of driving, and that marijuana impaired client’s driving, the State dismissed the case on the day of trial.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Driving facts involved a false claim by police that taillight was out. After challenging the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, the State was forced to dismiss the case when video did not match police report. Client has since expunged arrest, and has no criminal record.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client is a public school teacher and faced immediate termination upon conviction. The facts of the case were bad. State was unwilling to budge in negotiation, and matter was set for trial – the last shot at avoiding a conviction and preserving client’s livelihood. State was forced to dismiss on day of trial. Client has no criminal record, and has since expunged the DWI arrest.
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