February 17, 2012
Colorado lawmakers reviewed a bill Thursday that would increase the punishment for fleeing the scene of an accident where injury is inflicted to match the punishment for drunk driving offenses. According to a report from Colorado’s 9 News, a loophole in the current law gives incentive to drunk drivers to flee the scene of such an accident.
As the laws stand now, punishments for hit-and-run offenses are less severe than for drunk driving offenses. A drunk driver who causes an accident that inflicts serious bodily injury to another person can expect a sentence of up to 12 years in prison, while someone convicted of a hit and run offense can expect a sentence of one to three years in jail that can be suspended by the judge.
One victim who testified before the House Judiciary Committee Thursday told his story of spending a longer time in the hospital than the person who hit him spent in jail. He stated that the day the driver who hit him was released from jail, he was still learning to use the bathroom again.
Lawmakers hope to increase the penalties for hit-and-run offenses to at least a class four felony, which carries a sentence of two to six years in state prison.