Instead of a mandatory minimum of three years in prison that someone who kills another person while driving intoxicated currently might face, a driver suspected of being intoxicated while causing a fatal crash and then leaving the scene, can only be charged with fleeing a fatal accident. This is because when someone leaves, there is no way to prove that he or she was in fact drunk. Fleeing the scene of an accident could lead to only one year in prison.

A bill currently being considered seeks to close the “DUI loophole”. The bill is known as “Kevin’s Law,” after a 5-year-old boy who was killed in a hit and run driver suspected of having been drunk at the time. The proposed law would remove any incentive for a drunk driver to leave the scene of a fatal accident by making the consequences for a conviction of that crime, the same as when a drunk driver kills another person in a crash. It remains to be seen whether the law will pass.

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In the meantime, those who lose a loved one in an accident caused by a drunk driver can pursue a civil case against the driver. Though a successful case would not result in jail time for the allegedly intoxicated driver, it could provide loved ones of the deceased individual with compensation that could make it easier to move forward with life.

Source: Trib Live, “Bill would close DUI loophole that now encourages flight,” Adam Brandolph, June 21, 2014

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