Home>Articles>Bill To Increase Penalties For Fatal Hit-And-Run Incidents Fails In Assembly Third Time

Assemblyman Jim Patterson. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Bill To Increase Penalties For Fatal Hit-And-Run Incidents Fails In Assembly Third Time

‘Gavin’s Law’ aimed at targeting DUI drivers who fled fatal accidents

By Evan Symon, May 23, 2023 12:27 pm

A bill increase penalties for fatal hit-and-run incidents failed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee for a third time on Monday.

Assembly Bill 1067, authored by Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), would have increased the scope of hit-and-runs to include penalties for not immediately stopping after an incident. According to the bill, also known as Gavin’s Law, a person who fails to immediately stop, as required, at the scene of an accident that resulted in death would have penalties increased from 2-4 years in a state prison to 4-6 years in a state prison. Specifically it would have aimed to help close a loophole on drivers who fled due to a DUI, as being caught at the scene could carry up to a 15 year sentence for a felony DUI incident, but only 2-4 years if they fled and sobered up before being arrested.

Assemblyman Patterson authored AB 1067 after the death of Clovis resident and vice principal Gavin Gladding in 2018. Gladding was struck and killed by 19-year-old Rogelio Alvarez Maravilla, driving a truck. Maravilla subsequently fled, but turned himself in 5 days later after extensive media coverage and a growing police investigation.

Despite overwhelming evidence, Maravilla was sentenced to three years in prison, but only served  14 months. An outcry from Gladding’s widow and the community eventually reached lawmakers. Patterson previously tried to get the bill passed in 2019 and 2020, but both times it failed. However, this year brought renewed hope, as the bill passed Assembly Committees earlier this year, including a crucial and unexpected passage in the Assembly Public Safety Committee in March.

“I have to say, I think a couple of members changed their minds as a result of Rita’s testimony and we were able to convince individuals that may have well voted against it. I think the testimony by Rita was compelling and I think it changed hearts and minds,” said Assemblyman Patterson in March. “I’m satisfied that we’ve taken a giant step and I think it’s a significant one and the family is also joyous because we’ve got another step going forward and there is hope.”

Gavin’s Law fails for third time

While AB 1067 did have increased goodwill going into the Assembly Appropriations Committee, the bill failed to make it out of the Committee on Monday, ending the possibility for the bill to move forward during this legislative session. Assemblyman Patterson released a press release on AB 1067 but otherwise hasn’t commented on the bill not making it to an Assembly or Senate vote yet again. However, those in law enforcement who were in support of the bill told the Globe that the loophole that allowed DUI drivers to get out of a long jail sentence still needs to be challenged.

“We need Gavin’s Law in place,” explained Arthur Kramer, a former law enforcement officer in San Diego, to the Globe on Tuesday. If you’re drunk or high while driving, and you hit and kill someone, that can be up to 15 years if you are tested and found above the legal limit. But if you flee to sober up, then turn yourself in, you get the much less severe fleeing an accident while causing death, with that only being 2-4 years, with even that being less if you have good behavior, or if there is crowding, or some other excuse.

“That should not be an option. So while up to six years, which would have been the new amount under this bill, still wouldn’t give justice, it would have gone a long way for improving justice and helping victims, as a 4-6 sentence would have guaranteed longer jail time. It’s sad that  it didn’t pass. Stricter penalties help deter this behavior, but the Assembly once again isn’t listening to reason. Maybe next year. We need to keep trying.”

As of Tuesday, it is currently unknown if the bill will be brought back for passage next year.

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Evan Symon
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2 thoughts on “Bill To Increase Penalties For Fatal Hit-And-Run Incidents Fails In Assembly Third Time

  1. I know a woman whose mother was hit, while walking, by a driver with prior records about 3 years ago in Santa Cruz. After going missing, they found her two days later, dead, in a ditch. The suspect had fled, then bleached his car. Detectives arrested him staying at his mother’s house. Santa Cruz released him early after about 1 year. Her daughter will never know if she could have been saved, nor will she know justice.
    This is the state that WE live in people.
    You cannot just pretend that it is all okay.

  2. the cali-4-nia legislature continues to pass legislation to promote the criminal elements of our population while refusing to protect our citizens. someone needs to investigate the finances of these criminally co-dependent career politicians.

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