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Florida Legislature Stiffens Penalty for Hit and Run

With the summer months rapidly approaching, the college dorms will become empty, and the bars will fill up. This may inevitably lead to an increase in the amount of drivers who get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of alcohol. This will put other drivers on the road at a huge risk.

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, a person died every 51 minutes from an alcohol-impaired driving crash in the year 2012. Florida, has the 4th most DUI fatal crashes in the country, presumably because the weather permits people to party all year round, plus the tourism season brings in a large amount of people who like to enjoy the bar scene while soaking in the Florida sun. In 2012, the state of Florida had over 70,000 hit and run crashes, in which 17,000 people were injured and 166 died.

Did You Know?

Did you know that if a driver who is under the influence of alcohol kills someone in a car accident, that driver will be charged with a minimum sentence of 4 years in jail? However, did you also know that if that same driver decided to flee the scene and not turn themself in until they sobered up, the penalty would be less severe? This statute creates an incentive for the intoxicated driver, who seriously injured or killed someone, to flee in hopes of not being caught.  The police would not be able to properly demonstrate that the at fault driver was impaired at the time of the accident.

Aaron Cohen, who was a 36 year old, was out cycling one morning when a driver, who had been out to multiple bars that night, struck him and fled the scene. This led to Aaron’s death. The motorist did not turn himself in until the following day. Due to a lapse in time, there was no evidence to show that the motorist was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. Because he could only be charged with a hit and run, and not DUI manslaughter, the judge was only able to sentence the convicted to less than a year in jail. Many people would argue that the penalty is not commensurate with the crime and injustice committed.

By a unanimous vote, the Florida Senate passed a bill in hopes to stop this very act from happening again. This bill, referred to as the “Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act,” would now make the penalties for a hit and run, a minimum mandatory sentence of 4 years in jail. It would also bump up the punishment if one was seriously injured, instead of killed, from a 3rd degree felony to a 2nd. Further, it would automatically revoke the driver’s license for three years, and they would have to go back to driving school before being able to get it back.  This law aims to make the punishment for a hit and run, just as, if not more than, just as severe if one was to remain at the scene until police arrived.

Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

If you or a loved one has been the unfortunate victim of a Drunk Driving Accident, it is well advised to contact a licensed Florida Attorney. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can provide zealous representation to victims of negligent acts, particularly when facing complex litigation. When there is a loss of life following a motor vehicle accident, competent and experienced attorneys should be called upon to advocate on behalf of decedent. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is available to provide free consultations to surviving family members. Call us at 727-451-6900.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
727-451-6900

https://www.dolmanlaw.com/practice-area/drunk-driving-dui/