An Alabama man received a 100 year sentence for a crash involving alcohol and driving under the influence. Alabama prosecutors believe the accident was a result of the man's alcohol consumption and charged him with DUI manslaughter and assault. Kenneth McDaniels' wife, son and his young friend were all killed in the crash when McDaniel's car swerved into oncoming traffic. McDaniel had a blood alcohol content of 0.055% an hour after the crash. The legal blood alcohol content in Alabama is 0.08%.
We all sympathize with the deaths and injuries of those involved in the accident. However, there is no way that this man should be convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol or that alcohol was a contributing factor in the deaths of his family. First of all, his blood alcohol may have actually been rising at the time of the accident. For instance, if he recently had a beer with dinner his blood alcohol content was likely rising, not falling(as I am sure the prosecution contended). Furthermore, in order to prove alcohol was a factor in the deaths of his family members, the state of Alabama would have to prove that his driving was effected by the alcohol. It seems the only evidence that alcohol effected his driving is the crash itself, and there was testimony in the case that McDaniel only had one beer on the night of the crash.
This case should wake the people of Alabama up. If you drink at all, have beer or wine with dinner, and are involved in an accident while going home, you may be charged with DUI manslaughter and assault. For one beer or a glass of wine you or a loved one could end up in jail for 100 years. This is an absolute tragedy upon tragedy. How much more can the State of Alabama take from the man? Cases like these are why I am an Alabama DUI and Criminal Defense lawyer and attorney. It makes me ashamed that Federal Highway dollars and the constant lobbying of the MADD Mothers Against Drunk Drivers have caused a free country to come to this. I can only hope this case can be overturned on appeal. It should be shocking that an accident can sentence someone to 100 years in prison when an outright murder carries far less time. The judge that sentenced this man should be ashamed of himself as well. Of course, this judge is just pandering to the constituency that elects him by trying to appear tough on crime, so maybe we all should be held accountable as well.