I’ve been getting a lot of calls on this issue lately. People who were in a car accident and left the scene and now don’t know what to do. Let me stop the post right here and offer some free legal advice. HIRE A LAWYER IMMEDIATELY! YOU WILL MAKE A BAD SITUATION WORSE IF YOU DON’T. SERIOUSLY.
Am I going to be arrested?
Depends. If you hurt someone or injured others it is almost certain the police will issue an arrest warrant as soon as they have evidence you were driving and fled the scene. For cases that are only property damage, it’s different and we have resolved those type of cases without an arrest before, but it’s not always possible. The police can easily issue a warrant and it’s not something we can litigate to stop if they do. So be prepared to get arrested and have some money ready for bail just in case. We can help you find a local bail bondsman to assist.
How will the investigation proceed?
Ok, now let’s go over what’s going to happen next. If there are witnesses at the scene and they can identify you then it’s going to be pretty easy to get a warrant and arrest you. You don’t need to make any statements or talk to the police in that situation, so shut up and make bail.
If it was a one-car accident or you just hit a road sign or tree etc, then it’s a different scenario. The police who are investigating the case may not know who was driving the vehicle. Sure, it may be registered to you, but without you telling them you drove, or a ring doorbell camera video they don’t have evidence you crashed or left the scene. There are situations in these cases that you may not get arrested if you hire a lawyer time. Some property owners just want the damage paid for, and if you have insurance, then your lawyer could offer to have your insurance cover the damages. Sometimes that can be enough, and you need a lawyer to work this out. We have had cases in the past where we claimed an accident on a driver’s car insurance, and that ended the case. It’s not possible every time, and it may not be possible in your case.
The police will either call you or come to your house to talk to you. DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE. TELL THEM TO CALL YOUR LAWYER.
How do I get my car back?
It’s going to be impounded somewhere after the accident. The question becomes if you car being held as evidence? If so, it’s a lot of harder to get out. That is, if the police have a hold on your vehicle it’s not going anywhere for a while. If not, your lawyer can help you get your car back.
What is the charge for leaving the scene of an accident in Texas? You have to look in the transportation code for the charge. Section 550.022, 550.023, and 550.025. Basically, it’s a class C misdemeanor if the accident only causes property damage under $200, it’s a class B if it’s more than $200.
If you injure someone and cause serious bodily injury then it’s a 2-10 3rd-degree felony, if the accident causes death it’s 2-20 2nd-degree felony.