What happens to hit and run drivers who are later found by their license plate?

What happens to hit and run drivers who are later found by their license plate?

Have you ever been startled by a loud crash outside your home late at night, only to find a damaged vehicle abandoned at the scene? Hit and run accidents are frighteningly common, leaving victims with costly vehicle repairs and serious injuries but no way to identify the at-fault driver. However, modern technology and vigilant citizens are making it increasingly difficult for hit and run drivers to evade consequences. Security cameras, traffic cameras, and eyewitnesses can capture license plate numbers, allowing police to track down perpetrators even after they've fled. Talk with a Texas Car Accident Lawyer to get started if you feel you have a case. 

Hit and Run Accidents Are Serious in Texas

Hit and run accidents are serious criminal offenses in Texas that can result in severe legal penalties. If a driver leaves the scene of an accident, the authorities may investigate to identify the at-fault motorist. ### Methods for Finding Hit and Run Drivers

Law enforcement has various means for determining the identity of a hit and run driver who flees an accident site. Officers may canvas the area to locate eyewitnesses or review footage from nearby security cameras. They can also examine debris left behind at the scene to identify the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle involved.

Once a license plate number has been obtained, police can trace the registration to determine the name and address of the registered owner. The registered owner will then be questioned to establish who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.

If a hit and run driver is located, they will face legal consequences for leaving the scene of an accident and failing to provide insurance information to the other parties involved. Leaving an accident site is considered a serious criminal act as it prevents injured victims from receiving prompt medical attention and hinders a proper accident investigation.

Depending on the circumstances, a hit and run driver may face jail time, license suspension, steep fines, and civil lawsuits to recover damages. Victims of hit and run accidents should report the incident to the police immediately and seek medical care. Consulting with a personal injury attorney regarding one's legal rights and options is also advisable.

Police Use License Plates to Track Down Hit and Run Drivers

If a hit and run driver's license plate is recorded, the police have an effective way to identify and locate the driver. Through license plate lookups, officers can trace the plate number to the vehicle owner and driver.

The Police Use Databases to Find Registered Owners

Law enforcement agencies have access to vehicle registration databases that allow them to input a license plate number and find the registered owner of the vehicle. The owner's name and address are provided, enabling the police to locate the driver.

In some cases, the registered owner may not have been the driver at the time of the hit and run. The police will still want to speak with the owner, who can provide details about who had access to the vehicle. Through additional investigation, including interviews and reviewing any available surveillance footage, the police work to determine the identity of the driver.

Once found, hit and run drivers face legal penalties for leaving the scene of an accident. The specific charges and penalties depend on the laws of the state, but can include:

  • Misdemeanor or felony hit and run charges
  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • License suspension

The severity of the charges depends on factors like injuries to the victim(s) and the amount of damage caused. In fatal accidents, the charges are typically more severe. The laws aim to hold drivers accountable for reckless and irresponsible behavior that threatens public safety.

By tracking down hit and run drivers through license plates and other evidence, the police and legal system work to bring perpetrators to justice and make the roads safer for all. Drivers who flee the scene of an accident may temporarily evade consequences, but license plates provide an avenue for the police to locate them and for appropriate legal penalties to be applied.

Potential Charges for Hit and Run Drivers

If a hit and run driver flees the scene but is later identified by their license plate, they may face serious legal charges.

Reckless Driving

The act of leaving the scene of an accident in itself can be considered reckless driving, especially if the other driver or passengers were injured. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor criminal offense that can result in fines, license suspension, and even jail time.

Failure to Render Aid

In most states, drivers are required by law to stop and render reasonable aid to any injured parties after an accident. Failing to do so is illegal. This charge is considered more severe if the injuries were life-threatening.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Perhaps the most serious charge for hit and run drivers is leaving the scene of an accident. This felony offense can result in thousands of dollars in fines, years of license revocation, and a lengthy prison sentence, especially if the accident caused injury or death.

The specific charges and penalties for hit and run drivers vary in each state, but in general, the more severe the accident and injuries, the harsher the punishment. While it can be tempting to flee in a moment of panic, doing so will only make the situation much worse legally. The responsible and ethical thing to do is stop, check on the other parties involved, call for emergency help if needed, and report the accident to the police.

Hiring a Texas Car Accident Lawyer if You're a Victim

If you have been injured in a hit and run accident in Texas, hiring an experienced car accident attorney is critical. A lawyer can help investigate the accident, identify the at-fault driver, and pursue compensation for your injuries.

Conducting a Thorough Investigation

An attorney will launch a full investigation into your hit and run accident. They can request footage from traffic cameras, security cameras, and witnesses to try and identify the license plate number of the fleeing vehicle. Once the driver and vehicle details have been found, your lawyer can use public records to locate the owner's information.

Filing a Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Driver

With the driver's details in hand, your attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit against them for damages related to your accident. This may include costs for medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related expenses. Since hit and run accidents often result in serious harm, compensation amounts can be substantial.

Negotiating a Settlement

In many cases, a settlement can be reached with the at-fault driver's insurance company before the case goes to court. Your attorney will fight for a settlement that fully and fairly compensates you for the harm caused. If negotiations fail, they will take the case to trial to pursue the maximum amount you rightfully deserve.

Even after a settlement or judgment is reached, your car accident lawyer can continue to advise you on related legal matters. They can ensure the at-fault driver's insurance company properly pays any settlement or award amount. Your attorney can also walk you through the process of filing liens to recover other accident-related costs that may be outstanding.

With the right legal representation by your side, you have the best chance of identifying the driver responsible for your hit and run accident and recovering full compensation. An experienced car accident attorney in Texas has the skills and resources needed to build a strong case on your behalf.

Steps to Take After a Hit and Run Collision

Call the Police

The first step you should take after a hit and run accident is to contact law enforcement immediately. Report the incident and provide any details about the vehicle that fled the scene, including the license plate number if possible. The police may be able to track the driver using the license plate information.

Get Medical Attention

Seek medical care right away if anyone involved experiences injuries. Your health and safety should be the top priority after any car crash. Ask witnesses to call for emergency responders or call 911 yourself. Even if there are no obvious injuries, get checked out by a doctor as internal damage or injuries may not show symptoms right away.

Exchange Information with Witnesses

Talk to any witnesses who saw the hit and run occur and get their names and contact information. Witness statements and accounts of what happened can help support your claim. Ask the witnesses to describe the vehicle that left the scene in as much detail as possible.

Document the Incident

Take photographs of any damage to your vehicle and the surrounding area. Get pictures of the intersection or environment where the hit and run took place. These images may provide clues to help track the other driver. Record details about the incident in writing as soon as possible while the details are still fresh in your mind.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Report the hit and run accident to your auto insurance provider and file a claim. Even though the other driver fled the scene, your own insurance policy may cover repair costs for damage to your vehicle. Provide your insurance company with the official police report, photos, witness information and any other details about the incident. Your insurance provider may also be able to offer additional recommendations for next steps to take.

The actions you take immediately following a hit and run collision are critical. By alerting the authorities right away, seeking medical care, gathering witness information and documenting the details of the incident, you can maximize the chances of the at-fault driver being located and brought to justice. Staying safe and working with the proper channels will help ensure the best possible outcome after such an unfortunate event.

Call A Texas Car Accident Lawyer At Fletcher Law

If a hit and run driver flees the scene but is later identified by their license plate number, they may face legal consequences. As the victim of such an accident, contacting a personal injury attorney is advisable to understand your rights and the potential penalties the at-fault driver may incur.

The hit and run driver can potentially be charged with a felony for leaving the scene of an accident. The specific charges and penalties depend on the extent of injuries and damages. A driver may face fines, license suspension, jail time, or a combination of these.

Civil Lawsuit

In addition to any criminal charges, the victim of a hit and run accident may file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover damages related to medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. An experienced car accident lawyer can evaluate the details of your case, determine appropriate compensation, and represent you in negotiations or a trial.


Often, hit and run cases are resolved through an out-of-court settlement before a civil trial. A settlement allows the victim to receive compensation promptly while avoiding the time, expense, and uncertainty of a trial. The at-fault driver's insurance provider typically negotiates the settlement on their behalf. An attorney will fight to obtain the maximum amount of compensation for you in a settlement agreement.

In summary, if a hit and run driver's identity becomes known, they are likely to face legal and financial consequences for leaving the scene of the accident. Speaking with a Texas car accident lawyer is the best way to understand your options for pursuing damages and seeing that justice is served. An attorney can handle contacting insurance companies, negotiating with the other party, and litigating the case in court on your behalf so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.


As you can see, drivers who flee the scene of an accident in hopes of escaping responsibility often face serious legal consequences once identified. While the desire to avoid penalty is understandable, leaving the victim without aid or accountability is unethical and illegal. If involved in an accident, the best approach is to remain on site, call for emergency help if anyone is injured, and cooperate fully with any law enforcement investigation. Attempting to evade blame typically only makes the situation much worse. Take responsibility for your actions, do the right thing, and work to make things right. It may not undo the harm caused, but it can help begin the process of making amends and achieving redemption. The injury lawyers at Fletcher Law are here to help.