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What if I Hit an Unattended Vehicle?

Like other states, Texas imposes a duty upon drivers who are in automobile accidents. When a driver is in a collision, he or she is legally required to stop, pull their vehicle out of traffic if possible, check for any injuries, render aid when necessary (e.g. call an ambulance), and exchange information with the other drivers in the crash. These duties are outlined under Sections 550.022 and 550.023 of the Texas Transportation Code.

But, what about unattended vehicles? For example, what if a person is driving down the street at 35 mph, they get distracted by something and they accidentally hit a parked car? Another example – say a woman is backing up her new SUV in a Market Street parking lot and she accidentally backs into the parked car behind her. What legal duties do these drivers have?

Striking Unattended Vehicles

Under Section 550.024 of the Transportation Code, when you strike an unattended vehicle, you are legally required to follow these steps:

  1. Locate the owner of the unattended vehicle and give him or her your name and address; or
  2. Securely attach in a conspicuous place, a note giving your name and address so the vehicle’s owner can contact you.

If you collide with an unattended vehicle and you fail to follow steps one or two, you commit a Class C misdemeanor if the damage to the vehicle was less than $200. You commit a Class B misdemeanor if the damage to the vehicle was $200 or more.

In Texas, a Class C misdemeanor is punishably by a maximum fine of $500. A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000, or by up to 180 days in jail, or by a fine and imprisonment.

Facing criminal charges for striking an unattended vehicle in Plano or Dallas? Contact our firm at once for a hard-hitting defense.