Hit and run accidents are an unfortunate and all too common occurrence in Texas and especially right here in San Antonio. The act of leaving the scene makes the original accident even worse. Not only does the person liable for the act escape immediate conviction, but it is very likely that the victim’s injuries will worsen during the time it takes for someone to discover the accident and call for help. Because of the serious nature of these accidents, a Texas law increased the punishment for those who flee the scene. However, despite this increase, people are still committing the crime across the state. It is important that you know your legal rights after being involved in this type of car wreck and our car accidents lawyers will do everything to help you. Our firm will explain your legal rights and will assist in a proper investigation when hit by a hit and run driver.
2013 – A New Law With Harsher Punishments
Before 2013, the punishment for a person leaving the scene of an accident after a car crash was a third degree felony, which carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. The punishment for intoxicated manslaughter, however, was a second degree felony, with up to twenty years in prison. These differing punishments had a strange effect; when people got into an accident while intoxicated, they were almost motivated to flee the scene, as the punishment they would receive for that would be lower than if they remained and were caught intoxicated.
Many called this an incentive to leave the scene, and in September 2013 Texas lawmakers had had enough. A bill was passed that made the punishment for both crimes the same, in hopes that this would both dissuade people from leaving the scene and encourage them to call for help sooner. In some cases, an earlier call could save the lives of the victims, or at least prevent more serious injuries.
Today – People are Still Leaving the Scene
Despite the more serious penalty that now comes with a hit and run, they are not uncommon incidents. There are consistently stories in the news describing the latest accident, and they frequently involve the driver of the car leaving or attempting to leave after hitting the victims. Recently, two San Antonio cases stand out.
In the first, a driver hit a pregnant woman and her child while trying to run over his girlfriend during an argument. After he missed and hit the others, he drove away from the scene. Police found him in his car later that night. In the second, a car ran a red light in the early morning and hit a van, injuring the couple inside. The people then proceeded to run from the scene, only to be caught and arrested. They were charged with failure to stop and render aid, as well as evading arrest. In both cases, the people who caused the accident will now be facing second degree felony charges for leaving the scene.
Need Legal Help?
Accidents are an unfortunate but common occurrence on the streets. However, it is very important that you stay on the scene and call for help immediately. If you or someone you know was involved in an accident and left the area, contact us at the office of Joe A. Gamez and the Gamez Injury Lawyers. Our attorneys can help you with the applicable laws and determine what your next steps should be. 210-736-4040