Texas Makes Changes to Law: Sentencing for Hit and Run Cases Raised
David Wood lost his son, Philip Wood, in 2014 in a car crash. The culprit, Joseph Cantu, was sentenced to six years of community service and probation. The verdict left Philip’s parents upset and disappointed as they had hoped for jail sentence for Cantu. Disappointed, the parents entered into a five year long legal battle with the legislature. Their efforts eventually paid off in the form of House Bill 2502 passed by the government where Sentencing for Hit and Run Cases was Raised.
What The New Law Says
According to the new law, the culprits will have to spend a minimum of 120 days in prison if they are proven to have failed to stop and provide aid to the victim.
The new law only applies to cases where the victim dies due to the injuries sustained.
Back to the Original Case
In 2017, prosecutors requested the judge for four months of jail time for Cantu. However, the judge only sentenced him to 24 days in confinement to be broken into two. However, in a later appeal, the court tossed out the requirement.
Request For a Change
Wood wanted to make the punishment for such a crime equivalent to the automatic sentence a defendant receives for intoxication manslaughter. He explained his decision saying:
“It was not an easy or pleasant process, but we are believers that we try, if possible, to do things, if we have a bad experience, to make things better for other people.”
State representative, Joseph Moody took interest in the case and authored HB 2502. The new bill passed almost unanimously.
Moody highlighted the flaws in the old law saying:
“The law basically encouraged any drunk driver who cared more about self-preservation than doing the right thing to take off and leave someone dead or dying on the side of the road. … Our laws shouldn’t promote bad behavior.”
Moody hopes the bill will prevent drivers from driving under the influence and help save lives.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a hit and run accident, contact our dedicated attorneys today.