that was recently signed into law in Nevada now provides stiffer penalties for hit-and-run drivers. Senate Bill 245 was signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval on Friday. Supporters of the bill state that the law should remove a known legal loophole that allows drunken drivers to get a lower penalty when they flee the scene of a crash and sober up.
The legal statute forbidding at-fault drivers from leaving the scene of an accident is designed to prevent hit-and-runs. However, when the driver is intoxicated it is often the case that the driver flees the scene for fear of being prosecuted for DUI. This has posed a serious problem for prosecutors who wish to charge a driver with felony DUI. Though law enforcement may suspect that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash, there is no evidence by the time the police are able to make an arrest. This means that the driver faces the lesser charge of fleeing the scene as opposed to felony DUI.
The new law is set to remove this loophole by making the penalty of leaving the scene the same as a felony DUI. The penalty is now 2 to 20 years with no probation instead of 2 to 15 years with probation. A second change in the law also allows the driver to be punished separately for each victim that is injured or killed in the incident.
According to Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chelsea Stuenkel, “We’ve investigated this year over 600 hit-and-run crashes in Southern Nevada…Not only is it a horrific crime for family members, at Nevada Highway Patrol that’s a lot of resources. We have to spend a lot of time investigating those crashes and doing follow-ups.” She is hopeful the changes to the law will deter drivers from leaving the scene to sober up.
The Nevada Legislature website states that the legal changes will go into effect on or after Oct. 1.
Hit-and-Run and Personal Injury
When you are involved in an accident that is caused by another’s negligence, it can be traumatic. It is even more traumatic when the at-fault driver flees the scene and leaves you to fend for yourself. This is illegal, and those who commit such a crime should be punished.
Additionally, when a hit-and-run driver is found, you may have grounds for seeking compensation for your damages through civil court. To do so, it is usually best to have a skilled personal injury attorney by your side, like those at Bernstein & Poisson in Las Vegas. Give us a call today and learn how we can help you seek the maximum compensation for your damages.