Presently, the hit and run penalties in Texas are harsh, but not harsh enough to discourage the act in many cases. According to Texas lawmakers, the current penalties set for hit and run accidents are less severe than the penalties for DUI manslaughter. Oftentimes, hit and run offenders are intoxicated individuals who don't want to be caught while under the influence of alcohol.
As a result, they will flee the scene of a serious accident, hoping that the police will not discover that they were driving drunk when the crash occurred. This way, even if they are caught, these suspects assume that they will be charged with a hit and run, rather than a severe intoxication manslaughter charge.
On September 1st, the Texas state government will pass a new law allowing the courts to heighten the penalties for a hit and run. The new penalties will be equivalent to the penalties for a
DUI manslaughter charge. This way, individuals that are involved in a DUI accident will not have any advantage by trying to flee the scene of the incident.
Texas officials are hopeful that this change in penalty structures will further discourage the practice of hit and runs. Now, individuals who hit another car and cause severe injury or death, and then flee the scene of the crime, can be sent to prison for between two and twenty years. They can also be issued a fine of up to $1,000.
If you are arrested for a hit and run, you will certainly want a Houston criminal defense attorney on your side. With these new laws going into effect on September 1st, 2013 you will want an attorney there to advocate on your behalf and petition for a plea bargain or a lighter sentence. Talk to our team at The Martinez Law Firm today!