*WARNING* THE PUNISHMENT FOR NOT STOPPING AT DWI ACCIDENTS INVOLVING INJURY IS A UNIQUE TYPE OF PUNISHMENT!
Stress can cause a person to act differently. Hopefully, most people would agree that a car accident can be a very stressful event. Further, most people would hopefully agree that we should check for any injuries after an accident. And, hopefully most of us would agree that no one would intentionally want to be in an accident or injure another person in an accident. it is also possible that a person may seem intoxicated, but other factors such as a medical event, could appear as intoxication to others when it is simply not the case. But, again, stress can sometimes cause a person to do something they wouldn’t normally do, including leaving an accident. However, keep in mind that leaving an accident may lead to criminal punishment, not just a personal injury case.
Mimi has experience in representing accidents involving injury and understands that the situation can be extremely scary. Mimi will listen and do a full case evaluation to understand the circumstances before and after the accident in totality to provide the best representation possible. If you are looking for a “criminal lawyer near me,” know that Mimi handles most of North Texas.
Texas Transportation Code § 550.021 defines the offense of DWI “Accident Involving Personal Injury or Death.”
The statute states (in simplified language) that:
(a) The driver of a car involved in an accident that involves (or is reasonably likely to involve) injury or death shall immediately:
- Stop at the scene or as close to the scene as possible;
- Return to the scene if not stopped at the scene;
- Determine whether a person involved in the accident is injured, and whether that person requires help; and
- Remain at the scene to gather information and render aid (if necessary).
This is fairly straightforward. Where the statute becomes confusing, however, is where it defines the punishment for violating the statute. An accident involving serious injury or death is easy to understand. But, an accident involving simple injury seems to be a brand new type of punishment that seems to fit somewhere between a misdemeanor and a felony. In other words, just looking at the statute does not clarify whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor. Case law says that it is “unambiguously” a felony since imprisonment (rather than confinement) is a possible punishment.
(c) a person commits an offense if the person does not stop or follow the rules above. An offense:
- Involving an accident resulting in:
- Death is a second degree felony (2-20 years in prison, up to $10,000 fine, or combination)
- Serious bodily injury (think losing an arm or a leg) is a third degree felony (2-10 years in prison, up to $10,000 fine, or combination)
- Involving an accident resulting in injury (non-serious) is:
- imprisonment in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for not more than 5 years, or confinement in the county jail for not more than one year;
- a fine not to exceed $5,000; or
- both the fine and imprisonment/confinement.
- A State Jail Felony is: state jail 180 days – 2 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- A Class A Misdemeanor is: Up to 1 year of jail, a fine up to $4,000, or a combination.
Mimi Coffey is listed on several “top” directory listings such as DWI Lawyers for Wise County, DWI Lawyer Tarrant County, DWI Lawyer Dallas County, DWI Lawyer Collin County, DWI Lawyer in Johnson County and DWI Lawyer Parker County. Mimi is a caring DWI Lawyer in DFW, She is also involved in the Texas Tech School of Law foundation and enjoys using the skills she has developed to give back to the community.