Texas Transportation Code 550.025 – Duty on Striking Structure, Fixture or Highway Landscaping
WHAT IS DUTY ON STRIKING STRUCTURE, FIXTURE, OR HIGHWAY LANDSCAPE IN TEXAS?
The Texas law entitled duty on striking structure, fixture, or highway landscape requires drivers involved in accidents causing property damage to take reasonable steps to notify the owner or person in charge of the property.
WHAT IS THE DUTY ON STRIKING STRUCTURE, FIXTURE, OR HIGHWAY LANDSCAPE LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Transp. Code § 550.025. DUTY ON STRIKING STRUCTURE, FIXTURE, OR HIGHWAY LANDSCAPE.
(a) The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a structure adjacent to a highway or a fixture or landscaping legally on or adjacent to a highway shall:
(1) take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of the property of the accident and of the operator’s name and address and the registration number of the vehicle the operator was driving; and
(2) if requested and available, show the operator’s driver’s license to the owner or person in charge of the property.
(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 fixtures and landscaping is less than $200; or
(2) a Class B misdemeanor, if the damage to all fixtures and landscaping is $200 or more.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR DUTY ON STRIKING STRUCTURE, FIXTURE, OR HIGHWAY LANDSCAPE IN TEXAS?
The failure to follow the duty on striking a structure, fixture, or highway landscape 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 a structure, fixture, or highway landscape, 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 STRUCTURE, FIXTURE, OR HIGHWAY LANDSCAPE IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for failing to follow the duty on striking a structure, fixture, or highway landscape 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 STRUCTURE, FIXTURE, OR HIGHWAY LANDSCAPE IN TEXAS?
A person charged with failing to follow the duty on striking a structure, fixture, or highway landscape 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 STRUCTURE, FIXTURE, OR HIGHWAY LANDSCAPE IN TEXAS?
The statute does not authorize specific defenses to duty on striking structure, fixture, or highway landscape. 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 STRUCTURE, FIXTURE, OR HIGHWAY LANDSCAPE IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for failing to follow the duty on striking a structure, fixture, or highway landscape, a Class B or Class C misdemeanor, is two years.
DUTY ON STRIKING STRUCTURE, FIXTURE, OR HIGHWAY LANDSCAPE IN TEXAS
Texas drivers involved in 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 DUTY ON STRIKING STRUCTURE, FIXTURE, OR HIGHWAY LANDSCAPE COURT CASES
The case law regarding duty on striking structure, fixture, or highway landscape in Texas illustrates the statute’s application.
- In Mitchell v. State, the defendant was convicted of failing to follow the duty on striking a structure after he drove into a house while driving on a four-lane public road. He left the scene without calling police or attempting to contact the homeowner. The homeowner tracked him down, and only then did he report it to police. The defendant argued on appeal the statute does not apply to striking a private residence. However, the appellate court disagreed, and affirmed his conviction. Everyone has the duty to notify the property owner after causing damage with a vehicle, whether the property is public or private.
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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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