A recent story from 7KTVB discusses how an Idaho man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for drunk driving. The 42-year-old man was convicted of felony DUI. He is eligible for parole in 10 years but could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
While a DUI is normally a misdemeanor offense, it can be charged as a felony after the defendant has been convicted of a certain number of misdemeanor drunk driving offenses. According to court records, this defendant was sentenced for his fifth felony DUI. He had 2 misdemeanor DUIs on his criminal record as well.
As your Boston drunk driving injury lawyer can explain, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, operating under the influence (OUI) is a misdemeanor for a first and second offense and a felony for third and subsequent offenses. For misdemeanors in Suffolk County (Boston), the drunk driver could serve up to 2.5 years at the South Bay House of Corrections. For felonies, the defendant could face five years or more in a Massachusetts Correctional Institute (state prison).
In this case, the man was pulled over after swerving across the center line. He failed the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) and, though he refused to take a breathalyzer, the police got a warrant to test his blood. His blood alcohol content (BAC) was .287 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. This is more than three times the legal limit.
The judge declared that the defendant was a habitual offender and enhanced his sentence under statutory guidelines.
As is the case in a negligence lawsuit, the plaintiff would have to prove that the driver breached his duty to care to protect others on the road from injury. It is well established that when someone drives a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, he or she has breached his or her duty of care. If that breach causes an injury to another motorist or pedestrian, the drunk driver would be liable for any damages caused.
Just to put his BAC into perspective, according to numerous scientific studies conduct by the U.S. Department of Transportation, a driver with a BAC of .25 or higher would have severe loss of motor control, be prone to unconsciousness, likely to blackout with associated memory loss, have a loss of understanding, and a loss of sensation in the body. If the levels were any higher, there would likely be central nervous system impairments, difficulty breathing, and possibly even death.
If someone gets behind the wheel in this condition and manages to drive long enough to cause an accident, the damage can be devastating to victims and their families.
If you have been injured in a Boston drunk driving accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Nampa man gets 40 years for drunken driving, August 12, 2014, KTVB.com
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Stafford v. Roadway – Social Host Liability Weighed, July 1, 2014, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog