Being charged with the traffic death of another individual in Alabama can be a terribly stressful situation for most anyone. As a criminal defense lawyer who has defended numerous people accused of crimes in Birmingham and other parts of the state, I know that when a traffic fatality results in a murder charge, it tops the list of serious crimes. This is when you need a competent and experienced criminal lawyer to handle your case.
A recent case being brought before a local court has put a Mobile man in the defendant’s chair. According to news articles, Leon Joseph Smith was charged with murder in the drunk driving-related death of a 20-year-old motorcycle rider in 2008. Based on reports, Christopher Willis was killed on September 27, 2008, when his motorcycle slammed into Smith’s car, which allegedly turned in front of the motorcycle.
Although police say that Smith was drunk at the time, the man’s defense attorney has pointed out that Willis was speeding at the time of the collision — his bike was reportedly traveling in excess of 70mph. Police reports indicate that Willis had been dining at a local restaurant earlier in the afternoon and was headed to a friend’s home to watch a football game when the crash occurred.
According to police, Smith had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) four times the legal limit in Alabama. Smith, 64, was cited for the crash that instantly killed Willis on Hillcrest Road around 4pm on a Saturday afternoon.
Emergency medical technicians responding to the accident reportedly saw Smith, who refused medical treatment, gargling mouthwash at the scene. The driver declined to take any field sobriety tests, and was subsequently arrested by the police.
News reports show that a later test revealed Smith’s blood-alcohol level to be “at least” 0.365 percent.Prosecutors maintain that Smith, being drunk, showed a “reckless indifference for other people on the roadway.”Alabama law allows for drivers to be charged with manslaughter or murder if they cause a fatal accident while driving under the influence.
Mobile man faces murder charge for traffic wreck, AL.com, December 08, 2009