LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A bill to double the statute of limitations to file criminal charges in hit-and-run cases from three years to six years was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown this week, providing a win for the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D-Carson).
Gipson, addressing the media on Friday, said the bill is a victory for victims and families of victims in hit-and-run cases. Under the new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, criminal charges can be filed against hit-and-run suspects within a year of identifying a suspect, as long as it is still within six years of the crime. Previously, charges needed to be filed within three years of an accident.
There are about 6,000 hit-and-runs every year in L.A. County, according to the LAPD and Gipson’s office. Of those, fewer than half are solved.
For Gipson, the issue is personal. His 3-year-old son was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver 26 years ago.
Another bill aimed at catching hit-and-run drivers — establishing an “Amber Alert”-style notification system to distribute information on suspects — was also signed into law this week.