Senate Passes Teresita's Law Making It A Felony If An Unlicensed Driver Causes Another Person's Death

Phil Boyle

April 30, 2013

    The New York State Senate today passed legislation known as Teresita’s Law, which makes it a felony if an unlicensed driver causes death to another person. The bill (S.1888) recognizes that the unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, that ends in death, should be treated as a serious crime.

    Teresita’s Law was introduced following the death of Teresita 'Grace' Solano, who was killed in Middletown, New York, last year when she was hit by a negligent driver who was operating a vehicle with a suspended license.  The man who hit Ms. Solano served the highest sentence that he could be charged with - a misdemeanor with a maximum of 30 days in jail and a fine.

    This legislation elevates this crime to a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison.  Those who drive without valid licenses should not be on the road, and when a suspended driver kills an innocent person, under this legislation would be punished by up to four years in prison.

    Currently, unlicensed operation that ends in the death of a person is only a felony if someone has 10 or more suspensions or if a license has been permanently revoked. This bill would make it a felony when a person drives with even one suspension and causes a death.

    The bill was sent to the Assembly.