Many people do not realize the total extent of the consequences of a decision to get behind the wheel while drunk. Some people are not worried at all and engage in this risky behavior on a regular basis. Others are worried about the possibility of getting arrested but do not feel a first offense drunk driving conviction is that big a deal.
As we can deduce from the many anti-drunk-driving ads we see on TV and on billboards, if potential drunk drivers are afraid of anything, it is of getting arrested and having to spend thousands of dollars on a defense. What people do not seem all that worried about is getting in a serious drunk driving car accident that could result in serious injury or death. This is, of course, the real risk of getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle when intoxicated.
According to a recent news feature from the Bakersfield Californian, a defendant was just sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of a serious drunk driving accident in which a 22-year-old woman was killed. In this case, prosecutors alleged that he was driving at 118 miles per hour when he collided with victim’s car, and, at this speed, he showed a complete disregard for the lives of others. For this reason, he was not charged with criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter, as is often the case with fatal drunk driving car accidents. Instead, prosecutors charged him with second-degree murder, and this was the charge on which he was convicted.
At his sentencing, he and his attorney argued that he did not mean to kill anyone and was very remorseful for his actions the night of this tragic incident. His attorney also said his client would frequently cry when speaking about what happened to the drunk driving accident victim that night. Many friends and family members of the 27-year-old defendant submitted letters to the judge to use in aid of sentencing, but he said he could not consider them as either facts or law of the case. The judge ultimately sentenced defendant to prison term of 15 years to life in a state penitentiary.
As for the facts of the fatal drunk driving car accident of which he was convicted, prosecutors submitted evidence defendant had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .14 when he hit victim. In this case, the victim was also alleged to have been driving under the influence of alcohol, and, when her toxicology was determined, she had a BAC of .12, which is also over the legal limit of 0.08 grams of ethanol (drinking alcohol) per 100 milliliters of blood.
It should be noted that in a criminal trial, the fact that a victim was also driving under the influence would not necessarily negate the criminal actions of defendant. Had victim survived, it would have been legally possible to charge her as well, though procedurally, that might prove difficult. However, in a civil personal injury lawsuit following a serious car accident, if the victim was drunk and contributed to the accident in some part, this might affect the amount plaintiff is able to recover.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Boston drunk driving accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
Drunken driver receives life term for crash that killed Princess Almonidovar, February 4, 2016, The Bakersfield Californian, By Jason Kotowski
More Blog Entries:
Massachusetts is Mid-Level on Drunk Driving Prevention, June 19, 2015, Boston Drunk Driving Injury Lawyer Blog