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Governor signs 'Kevin's law,' increasing hit-and run penalties

On December 2013, a five-year-old boy was killed by a hit-and-run driver as he was crossing a Wilkes-Barre street with his parents. The boy, named Kevin, became the focal point of a drive to increase the criminal penalties for hit-and-run accidents. Those efforts reached their climax on June 30, 2014 when Gov. Tom Corbett signed a bill containing a provision that had become known as "Kevin's law."

The driver who killed Kevin fled the scene and at first denied being in Wilkes-Barre on the night of the accident. He was arrested and charged after investigators discovered his car and noticed that it had a new headlight and light damage to the hood. The driver pled guilty and was sentenced before the new law became effective, and he received a sentence of two to five years in prison.

Before the accident involving Kevin, the minimum penalty for leaving the scene of an accident involving a fatality was one year, a lesser sentence than a fatal accident involving drunk driving. The new law, which takes effect on August 30, 2014, raises the minimum penalty for leaving the scene of a fatal accident to three years. The dead boy's parents and their friends were instrumental in persuading the legislature to change the law.

Leaving the scene of any accident is a serious violation of the law. If the accident caused a fatality, the crime is even more serious. Any person charged with an accident that involves death or personal injury requires the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can raise all applicable defenses and negotiate a favorable plea bargain.

Source: golackawanna.com, "Kevin's Law becomes reality," Roger DuPuis, June 30, 2014

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