What Does “Failure to Stop and Render Aid” Mean in Texas?
With regards to criminal law, a basic fact is that misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies. That is why a crime such as failure to stop and render aid (FSRA) can be considered a felony and has even been elevated to a more serious offense than it used to be within the last decade. If you were to review this charge by its wording alone, you might assume it is merely about being a good Samaritan. However, it is actually much more serious than that. Essentially, “failure to stop and render aid” means you did not follow the law in how you dealt with what seems to be a hit-and-run accident, be it one that involved people, damage to other cars, or damage to property. Here are further details about the definition of FSRA and its associated penalties when someone is injured or killed.
Regarding the most serious of the duties following an accident, the FSRA law, or those duties after a serious accident involving personal injury or death as noted in Sec. 550.021 of the Texas State Transportation Code, people must meet all of the following requirements if they are to be absolved of any FSRA allegations:
- First, the person driving a vehicle that is involved in an accident must immediately stop driving at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible.
- If the driver does not stop right away, the driver must immediately return to the scene of the accident.
- Once at the scene, the driver must immediately discern if the other person was indeed involved in the accident.
- If that person was involved in the accident, the driver must evaluate the other person’s condition to determine if he/she needs aid.
- After that, the driver must stay at the scene of the accident until the proper authorities arrive and assess the situation (the police, the EMS, etc.), including taking statements and providing aid.
To be considered as someone who committed an offense with regards to this FSRA, the driver must have not stopped or complied with the aforementioned requirements.
Criminal Classification and Updated Penalties for FSRA in Texas
Failure to stop and render aid has long been a felony of sorts, from a special felony to other varying degrees of felonious charges. Then, in 2013, the law was amended to make FSRA that causes fatality equal to driving while intoxicated (DWI) manslaughter in its criminal legal severity. In other words, instead of being a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, FSRA involving death carries with it a second-degree felony charge with up to 20 years in prison. In addition, FSRA following an accident involving serious bodily injury could now result in up to 10 years in prison.
Contact a San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or someone you know is facing failure to stop and render aid charges, consider hiring an experienced San Antonio felony defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock at 888-726-5625 for a complimentary consult regarding your failure to stop and render aid case. The team at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock has a deep understanding of these and other criminal laws and has the knowledge necessary to develop a winning strategy for your case.