Texas Transportation Code 550.024 – Duty on Striking Unattended Vehicle
WHAT IS DUTY ON STRIKING UNATTENDED VEHICLE IN TEXAS?
The Texas law regarding the duty on striking an unattended vehicle requires drivers who collide with parked, unoccupied vehicles to stop and either locate the owner, or leave a note in a conspicuous place and securely attached to the damaged vehicle.
WHAT IS THE DUTY ON STRIKING UNATTENDED VEHICLE LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Transp. Code § 550.024. DUTY ON STRIKING UNATTENDED VEHICLE.
(a) The operator of a vehicle that collides with and damages an unattended vehicle shall immediately stop and:
(1) 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
(2) 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.
(b) A person commits an offense if the person violates Subsection (a). An offense under this section is:
(1) a Class C misdemeanor, if the damage to all vehicles involved is less than $200; or
(2) a Class B misdemeanor, if the damage to all vehicles involved is $200 or more.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR DUTY ON STRIKING UNATTENDED VEHICLE IN TEXAS?
Failing to follow the duty on striking an unattended vehicle 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 vehicle, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in county jail.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR DUTY ON STRIKING UNATTENDED VEHICLE IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for failing to follow the duty on striking an unattended vehicle 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 DUTY ON STRIKING UNATTENDED VEHICLE IN TEXAS?
A person charged with failing to follow the duty on striking an unattended vehicle 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 DUTY ON STRIKING UNATTENDED VEHICLE IN TEXAS?
The statute does not authorize specific defenses to duty on striking an unattended vehicle. 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 DUTY ON STRIKING UNATTENDED VEHICLE IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for failing to follow the duty on striking an unattended vehicle, a Class B or Class C misdemeanor, is two years.
DUTY ON STRIKING UNATTENDED VEHICLE IN TEXAS
Texas law requires drivers involved in accidents to remain at the scene, and to provide their names and insurance information. This duty extends to striking unattended vehicles so the owner thereof may be made whole after the person caused damage to their vehicle.
TEXAS DUTY ON STRIKING UNATTENDED VEHICLE COURT CASES
The case law regarding duty on striking unattended vehicle in Texas illustrates the statute’s application.
- In Burks v. State, the defendant was driving to work, and struck the victim’s parked car. She kept going, and did not notify the victim until two hours after the crash. The defendant told police she left because she panicked, and did not claim to have not known she crashed into another vehicle. Surveillance video showed the defendant driving shortly after the collision on the wrong side of the road, causing an oncoming car to take evasive action. She was convicted of failing to immediately stop and notify the victim after the crash, 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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