Residents of Miami-Dade County in South Florida are seeking harsher penalties for hit-and-run drivers as the area has been plagued with these types of incidences over the years. In the last year, a number of candle light vigils have been held at locations where people have been struck and killed by hit-and-run drivers. What makes matters worse in these instances is the relatively lenient penalties motorists face when convicted of their crimes after being involved in these types of car accidents.
For instance, when one man was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while out for a morning bicycle ride last February, his attacker was sentenced to just 364 days in jail. For the families of hit-and-run victims, these penalties that are often just a year or less in jail for the operator of the vehicles is not nearly strong enough of a penalty.
These families are hopeful that Miami-Dade County commissioners will make the right decision when voting on a resolution to ask Florida lawmakers to place a minimum penalty of at least seven years for a conviction on a hit-and-run charge and a minimum of 10 years if alcohol played a role in someone’s death during a hit-and-run accident. Currently, there is no minimum sentence for hit-and-run drivers in the state of Florida.
While the number of car accidents involving hit-and-run drivers decreased from 15,299 in 2011 to 12,813 in 2012, there is still a lot that can be done to improve the situation. Furthermore, a personal injury lawyer can often help ensure that your case is handled in a professional manner while the offender is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Source: WSVN, “Locals want higher convictions for hit-and-run drivers,” March 30, 2013