Media Makes Much of Veteran's Death in Hit-and-Run Crash Before Veteran's Day, But Does Traffic Law Protect Certain Groups of People?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Nov 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

An apparent hit-and-run accident in Pennsylvania killed a Vietnam veteran right before Veteran's Day. While the media is making much of the man's prior military record, the law in Pennsylvania – unlike in some other states – does not protect certain classes of people from criminal traffic violations like hit-and-run accidents by enhancing the penalties for those accused of committing the offense.

Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento explains.

Veteran Killed in Hit-and-Run Crash Outside Philadelphia

The crash happened in Norristown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia 20 miles northwest of downtown, on November 10, 2019, a day before Veteran's Day. A 67-year-old Vietnam veteran was getting out of his car in the early evening when a passing car hit him.

The car kept going after the crash.

The victim of the accident was brought to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Some Traffic Laws Protect Certain Victims

Some of the traffic laws in Pennsylvania single out particular groups of people and take steps to protect them from harm. For example, 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3365(c.1) protects road construction workers from speeding drivers by enhancing the penalties that drivers can face if they speed through an active work zone.

Pennsylvania's Hit-and-Run Laws Do Not

When it comes to hit-and-runs, though, Pennsylvania's laws do not note who the victim was when determining a penalty for a conviction. Whether the victim was a child or an adult, a veteran or a police officer, the penalties are the same. 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3742 applies to all hit-and-run cases that cause death or an injury. The penalties depend on the extent of the injuries, rather than who the victim was:

  • Fatal hit-and-run accidents are second-degree felonies that carry a minimum of 3 years in jail and a fine of $2,500
  • Hit-and-run accidents that cause serious injuries are third-degree felonies that carry a minimum of 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000
  • Hit-and-run crashes that lead to non-serious injuries are first degree misdemeanors

75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3743 covers hit-and-run accidents that do not hurt anyone, and only damage property. These are third-degree misdemeanors that carry up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Crashes In Other States Can Carry Heightened Penalties for Certain Groups of Victims

There are some states out there that put higher penalties on people who cause crashes that hurt certain groups of people. For example, in Texas, it's usually a third-degree felony for a driver to cause a crash that seriously hurts someone while driving under the influence (DUI). However, it becomes a felony of the first degree – which can carry a life sentence in jail – if the victim was a cop.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento Serves the Accused in Philadelphia

As we'll detail in our next post, traffic laws that enhance penalties for drivers who hurt certain types of people can be incredibly unfair.

Joseph D. Lento is a criminal defense and traffic attorney who represents the accused in Philadelphia. Contact him online or call his law office at (215) 535-5353 for the legal help you need.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.