Hit and Run Penalties Increase

Any car accident is serious business that can cost thousands of dollars, emotional damage, and even death. Those who hit a vehicle and fail to render aid, more commonly known as a hit and run, will now face stronger consequences than ever before. Previous to the passing of Senate Bill 275, a hit and run was classified as a 3rd degree felony, punishable up to 10 years in prison. Often, the hit and run involved someone who was intoxicated. Because intoxicated manslaughter is a 2nd degree felony punishable up to 20 years in prison, many hit and run offenders flee the scene, leading victims to serious injury and sometimes death.


Now with the unanimous vote in favor for Senate Bill 275, the consequences for a hit and run in a deadly accident will be the same as the consequences of intoxicated manslaughter. Officials hope that this will encourage the offenders to render aid to those they have hit (since intoxication is usually involved in a hit and run, offenders avoided intoxicated manslaughter by fleeing the scene, a loophole in the law).

This law will take effect September 1, 2013. Officials say that encouraging offenders to stay at the scene to measure blood alcohol levels could mean the difference between life and death, as well as easing the investigation process. “If you look at it from an investigative perspective, it’s very difficult to prove intoxicated manslaughter when you’ve got to go back hours or days later when they finally do identify who the suspected driver was,” Commander Donald Daker of the Austin Police Department stated.

How do you feel about Senate Bill 275? Is it effective enough to deter hit and run accidents? Are the penalties enough? Are they too severe? Let us know your opinion on our Facebook or Twitter!

If you have been a victim of a hit and run accident, or you have been charged with a criminal offense, please schedule an appointment with our office. Appointments can be made by telephone (936) 294-1717, email slms@shsu.edu, or online at shsu.edu/legalservice. SLMS—Pointing Bearkats in the right direction.

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