Texas Senate Unanimous in its Approval of Penalty for Hit-and-Run Deaths
In a measure triggered by the 2011 death of a Tarrytown pedestrian, on March 27th, 2013, the Texas Senate approved legislation that would increase the penalty for those drivers who choose to leave the scene of a fatal accident. The vote was unanimous. This report is courtesy of statesman.com.
The legislation repairs a serious loophole in existing Texas law. Up until now, if drivers do not stop after an accident to render aid, they are charged with a third-degree felony. If they are drunk at the scene they face a more serious charge of second-degree felony. If they flee the scene drunk, have time to sober up, and then are charged, the charge is the lesser one of third-degree felony even though they were drunk at the accident scene. If the bill, sponsored in the Senate by Austin’s Senator Kirk Watson, passes the House and is signed into law, this loophole will be fixed.
According to the Associated Press and kvue.com, Senate Bill 275 makes the crime of leaving the scene of an accident a second-degree felony. That more serious charge is the same as the charge for intoxicated manslaughter. According to Watson, drunk drivers were fleeing the scene of serious accidents to keep from being charged with a more serious crime. The loophole was brought to the forefront by a recent accident involving a Capitol staff member who caused the death of an Austin nanny.
If passed, under the new law anyone who leaves the scene of an injury accident could be imprisoned for up to 20 years and fined $10,000.
Austin motorcycle attorney Ray King at the King Law Firm applauds the bill that would make leaving the scene of an accident a more serious offense. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, or if a loved one has died in a motorcycle accident, and someone else was at fault, contact the King Law Firm by calling (512) 375-4455 for a free consultation.