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Proposed Law Would Have Raised Prison Sentence for Hit-and-run Drivers to Six Years

Gavin’s Law Fails to Pass State House of Representatives

 Hit-and-run CA State Assembly Bill Proposed Raising Prison Sentence to Six YearsFRESNO, Calif. (August 13, 2020) — A proposed law that would have lengthened sentences for hit-and-run drivers from a maximum of three years to six years was not approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee.

Gavin’s law, introduced by Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), was proposed to stiffer sentences for drivers who cause fatal crashes in the wake of the death of Clovis Unified administrator Gavin Gladding who died in a crash near Friant Road and Copper in September 2018.

The unlicensed teen driver who fled the scene of the crash that killed Gladding, Rogelio Maravilla, 18, never stopped to help him. He had the windshield and side mirror on his pickup truck replaced and deleted text messages on his cell phone. Five days later he turned himself in to police and was arrested.

Maravilla was convicted and sentenced to three years in jail, but got out in just 12 months and is a free man. The maximum sentence is currently just four years for such a crime.

Last week the legislature was short just one vote to approve the new law “Gavin’s Law” (previously known as AB 582, now as AB 195).  The bill required at least four votes, but got only three from the seven members of the committee as three abstained and one voted no.

Patterson is planning to meet up with the Gladding family to decide whether or not it’s their wish to attempt getting the bill to pass again.

California Hit-and-run Crashes

Some 337 fatal hit-and-run crashes were reported in California in 2016 with a total of 2,049 of these deaths throughout the United States, according to a AAA study.

The state’s hit-and-run death rate has increased by 60 percent since 2009. Additionally, California ranks 7th nationally per capita for hit-and-run fatal crashes.

The AAA study determined there are common characteristics of hit-and-run crashes nationwide:

  • Roughly 65 percent of people who died in hit-and-run crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists.
  • Hit-and-run deaths in the U.S. have increased an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009.
  • Per capita, New Mexico, Louisiana and Florida have the highest rate of fatal hit-and-run crashes; New Hampshire, Maine and Minnesota have the lowest rates.

Johnson Attorneys Group has represented victims of hit-and-run collisions throughout California. If you have legal questions or would like to contribute to this story, please contact us.

James Johnson

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