New Law to Help Hit and Run Victims

New Law to Help Hit and Run Victims
By: Carly O'Keefe
Carbondale, IL - A new Illinois law goes into effect January 1, 2006 that will help families of hit-and-run victims seek justice.
As it stands now, three years after a hit and run takes place, the State can no longer prosecute. The revised law extends the statute of limitations on the crime indefinitely. That means once a hit-and-run driver is caught, they can be tried and convicted whether it is two days or twenty years down the road.

The revised law applies to drivers who damage a car or cause injury or death and flee the scene of the accident.

Union County Prosecutor Allen James says the revised law won't necessarily make it easier for police catch those drivers; but it does send a strong message that hit-and-run drivers cannot get away with the crime and there may be consequences even years later.

"With any hit and run the longer time goes by, the harder it is to solve the crime. It does however give us some time, that if something does show up in the future, we can take advantage of that and prosecute the case,” said James.

James says there is no statute of limitations on murder in Illinois. However a driver could potentially get away with vehicular homicide if not caught within the three-year time period.

Hit and run accidents that occur before January first will still fall under the current Illinois statute of limitations, and will expire in three years.