Shaana Rahman and S.F. StreetsBlog on Criminal Charges for Drivers Who Kill Pedestrians

In Tuesday’s StreetsBlog Post, “Will DA Gascón Reform the Double Standard for Drivers Who Kill?“, our very own Shaana Rahman was interviewed for her thoughts and experience on the matter of charging drivers and bicyclists who kill pedestrians as criminal offenders:

Shaana Rahman, a lawyer who represents victims of traffic crashes in civil court, explained that injuring or killing a pedestrian due to negligence has traditionally been categorized as a civil offense rather than a criminal offense, which requires “intent to harm.”
“What I have seen in my practice is unless there’s an issue where a driver or cyclist is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or driving recklessly and willfully, such as drag racing or something of that nature, by and large there are no criminal charges filed against folks who injure other people in those situations,” she said. Regarding the criminal charges against Ang, she added, “In this situation, with this particular bicyclist where you don’t have those aggravating circumstances, it seemed unusual to me.”
This recent decision to charge bicyclist Randolph Ang for the death of pedestrian Dionette Cherney has been met with both support and criticism. Support for breaking from the established tradition of DA inaction against pedestrian deaths by drivers and criticism for beginning this tide change with this year’s one bicyclist-caused death betwixt 12 driver-caused deaths.
But the most important question to consider is the one raised by Streetsblog: “Is Gascón getting serious about driver recklessness and negligence?” As quoted in the article, Ms. Rahman believes this could indicate “a fundamental shift in the punishment aspect of drivers who, in all other circumstances, would be seen as negligent drivers.”

“Criminal charges are important to deter certain behavior,” she said, and with so many cases of negligent drivers who kill or injure other people, “he’s going to have his hands full.”

If you ever need a pedestrian accident attorney in San Francisco, Paso Robles, or the surrounding Central California Coast area, contact us for a free consultation.

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