SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — A law designed to close a loophole that benefits drivers who are under the influence will not move beyond the committee stage this legislative year after not receiving a “reconsideration hearing” on Wednesday, according to Assemblyman Jim Patterson’s office.
AB 195 is also known as ‘Gavin’s Law’, named in honor of Clovis Unified vice principal Gavin Gladding who was struck and killed in a hit and run in 2018.
The loophole in current state law allows DUI drivers who leave the scene of a fatal crash to avoid the 15-year maximum sentence of a felony DUI conviction, said spokeswoman Alisha Gallon. Currently, drivers who leave the scene of a fatal collision and sober up before turning themselves in face only a four-year maximum sentence.
The bill failed to move beyond the California State Senate’s Public Safety Committee after being one vote short on Friday.
“The loophole is clear,” Patterson said. “Drunk drivers who flee and sober up before being caught can avoid the additional felony DUI charges. Until we have a Legislature that cares more about victims of crimes than the criminals, we will continue to see injustices like this one. I am thankful for the Gladding family, who have been willing to fight until the end to show just how devastating it is when justice is not served.”
The bill would have increased the punishment for fleeing the scene of an accident resulting in the death of another person from a punishment of two, three or four years in prison to having a maximum punishment of three, four or six years in prison.