Failure to Stop and Render Aid Is An Injury Or Death Offense
An unfortunate reality of large cities is that every day, there are serious automobile accidents that sometimes result in death or serious injuries. If you are involved in an accident involving personal injury or death, you have certain responsibilities under Texas law. If you are involved in a serious accident and are alleged to not comply with what the law requires, you could face serious penalties, including prison time and a felony conviction. In the Greater Houston area, failure to stop and render aid, which is also known as accident involving personal injury or death, is regularly charged after a hit and run. Failure to stop and render aid (FSRA) is potentially one of the most serious automobile-related offenses in the State of Texas, but fortunately, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help protect your record and your freedom.
What is A Hit & Run With Failure to Stop and Render Aid in Texas?
Under Texas Transportation Code 550.021, if you are involved in an accident that results or is reasonably likely to result in injury or death, you must do the following:
-Immediately stop at the scene or as close to the scene as possible.
-Immediately return if you did not stop.
-Immediately determine whether a person was involved, and whether the person requires aid; and
-Remain at the scene until the requirements in Texas Transportation Code 550.023 are complied with, which includes exchanging information (such as name, address, insurance information) and providing reasonable assistance to an injured person, if necessary.
What is the potential punishment for Failure to Stop and Render Aid?
If you are charged with failure to stop and render aid, the potential punishment you will be facing depends on the severity of the injuries involved in the accident.
If you are convicted relating to an accident involving death, you are facing a second-degree felony punishable by 2-20 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a $10,000 fine. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42A.516, if you are granted probation by a judge after being convicted in an incident related to an accident involving death, you must be assessed 120 days in jail as a condition of probation.
If the accident involves serious bodily injury, failure to stop and render aid is a third-degree felony punishable by 2-10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a fine of $10,000. Serious bodily injury is defined as injury that causes a substantial risk of death, disfigurement or use or impairment of any organ.
In all other cases, it can be punished with up to five years in jail and a fine of $5000.
How can I get a Case Dismissed?
The first thing a criminal defense attorney must do in a failure to stop and render aid case is obtain the evidence. This will typically include a police report, witness statements, 911 call, accident report and videos.
Although there are theoretically a variety of ways a person could be charged with failure to stop and render aid, the most common allegation is that a person did not immediately stop at the scene. However, as with most criminal offenses, a person must knowingly have fled the scene after being aware that an accident had taken place. Under some circumstances, it is possible that a person did not know there was an accident, or could not have immediately stopped for safety reasons. An experienced hit and run attorney should aggressively investigate the facts to show that a person did not knowingly fail to stop at the scene. In some cases, it may be possible to argue that the police arrested the wrong individual.
What should I do if I am being investigated for FSRA?
In some cases, the police will conduct an investigation into a hit and run that will lead them to question potential suspects. If you believe you are the target of a failure to stop and render aid investigation, it is very important that you are familiar with your rights. The most important right to be aware of is your right to remain silent. Under the United States and Texas Constitutions, you have an absolute right against self-incrimination.
Most attorneys advise their clients to not speak to the police if they believe they are the target of any criminal investigation, including an investigation for failure to stop and render aid. If you are being investigated, it is critical that you contact an experienced hit and run attorney right away.
Contact the Experienced Houston Hit & Run Criminal Defense Attorney of Ceja Law Firm
Attorney Jose Ceja is a former prosecutor who has defended Texans charged with failure to stop and render aid throughout the Greater Houston area. If you are charged or under investigation for a case like this, call Ceja Law Firm for a free consultation.