A man convicted of motor vehicle homicide and manslaughter while under the influence of alcohol in connection with a deadly drunk driving accident in Worcester last year is appealing his conviction, according to a recent news feature from The Boston Herald. The reason for his appeal is that he is trying get one of the charges for which his was convicted dismissed, which may shorten his sentence. He is currently serving a 12-to-14-year sentence in a Massachusetts Correctional Institute (MCI).
Court documents indicate defendant was driving his car while intoxicated when he hit a 23-year-old man and then continued to drag him for a quarter of a mile. The victim died as a result of the serious injuries sustained when hit by a drunk driver and then dragged under his car.
The question on appeal is whether a reasonable jury could have concluded that he acted recklessly at the time of the accident. While it might seem easy to assume he acted recklessly, since, as a jury found, he admitted to drinking six beers and then getting behind the wheel of a car and fatally hit an individual; however, the legal definition of reckless is different that the non-legal definition of the term.
Under the legal definition, a person must act with willful and wanton disregard for the health and safety of others with respect to foreseeable persons and property. This is a standard that requires more harmful conduct than in a negligence case. However, as our Boston drunk driving accident lawyers can explain, in standard personal injury cases, such as those involving a car crash, it is only required that a driver acted in a negligent manner.
In a criminal case, the standard is slightly different, as there is a requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors argue that there is clearly enough evidence to establish that he was acting in a reckless manner, and that the jury’s finding was reasonable. They argue that he was driving after drinking at least a six pack and with his own small child in the car. They also argue that he didn’t stop after crashing into victim, and if there was any way he didn’t notice he was dragging the victim, there were dozens of onlookers on both sides of the street screaming at him to stop is car and that there was somebody being dragged.
While it may also seem odd that the charge he wants to drop is the manslaughter by driving under the influence of alcohol count, and not the homicide count, is because that homicide charge has him in jail for nine to ten years, while the other charge involving a fatal drunk driving accident has him in prison for 12 to 14 years. If this charge was ultimately dismissed, he would possibly be out of prison in no more than 10 years opposed to a possible 14 years. It should also be noted that based upon his status as an undocumented worker, there is likely an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer filed.
If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston drunk driving accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
Drunk driver asks for charge in fatal crash case to be dismissed, May 2, 2016, Boston Herald, By Marie Szaniszlo
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School Bus Driver Charged with Drunk Driving in Sturbridge, April 7, 2016, Boston Drunk Driving Injury Lawyer Blog