The Trib reports that the State Senate has unanimously passed legislation that would increase the penalty for a fatal hit-and-run automobile accident from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony. Thus, the penalty would be identical to intoxication manslaughter. The discrepancy had caused many problems, as criminals would have an incentive to flee the accident if they were intoxicated. Senator Kirk Watson, who introduced the legislation, said it was intended so that people would have an incentive to “do the right thing.”
The bill was mainly a result of controversy over a 2011 incident in Austin, where a Capitol staffer convicted of a fatal hit-and-run was given 10 years probation. As the Senator-of-record for the Capital city, Watson introduced this legislation and it was approved without any incident. It’s a good step in the right direction to equity in the law.