Proposed DUI Law Fails To Pass California Legislature

Gavin’s Law, a proposed change to the DUI laws, has failed to move forward in the state Legislature. The Fresno Bee reports.

Assembly Bill 582 would have increased the penalty for fatal hit-and-run crashes, but it failed to get through the Assembly Appropriations Committee last month. The committee did not offer a reason about why it failed.

The bill is named after Gavin Gladding, a vice principal at Fort Washington Elementary School. He was doing marathon training and got killed by a truck in 2018. The driver fled the scene, then turned himself in five days later. He served 13 months of a three-year sentence.

Prosecutors believed that the man was drunk at the time and went home to sober up before turning himself in, but they were unable to prove it. The bill would up the penalty for fatal hit-and-runs as a deterrent to make people stay at the scene of an accident. A similar bill tried to pass in 2020, but failed by one vote. 

One reason for hesitating would be a drastic increase in incarceration costs. A study by the Appropriations Committee showed that the bill would raise costs by millions of dollars annually to house more DUI felons. In California, felony DUI charges can lead to a 15-year prison sentence. The study also claims that raising the penalty and threat of prosecution does not lead to a decrease in crime.

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