Drunk driving accidents that result in injury, bodily harm, property damage, or fatalities will leave offenders facing significant penalties beyond normal DUI charges. With strategic advocacy, these charges and penalties can be minimized. However, there are no guarantees when navigating the criminal justice system.
According to a recent report, a jury found an Alabama man guilty of manslaughter after a fatal drunk driving accident after the Iron Bowl in 2012.
The charges were reduced from murder to manslaughter after the jury deliberated for three hours. This case is an example of how proper defense and the presentation of evidence can potentially reduce charges, and ultimately penalties, in a DUI case. Our Birmingham DUI defense attorneys are experienced in protecting the rights of individuals accused of drunk driving related crimes. We will take a comprehensive approach to your case. We are committed to informing our clients about their rights and minimizing the harsh penalties associated with DUI charges.
The night of the accident, the defendant’s blood alcohol level was .26, three times higher than the legal limit. There were also pharmaceutical drugs found in his system. He had been drinking while watching the 2012 Iron Bowl on television when he got behind the wheel after the game ended. The accident occurred when the victim was coming out of a Publix parking lot and was t-boned by the defendant. According to police reports, the defendant was speeding when he struck the victim. Testimony also indicated that he had been using his cell phone at the time of the accident. Though the prosecution and his family was disappointed in the not-guilty for murder verdict, they were glad he will be off the road.
After reviewing the evidence presented by the prosecution and the defense, the jury found that the defendant was not guilty of an assault charge related to the injuries his passenger received in the crash. The defendant was placed in custody and his bond was revoked, pending his sentencing. Since the accident, the defendant has quit drinking and his attorney stated to the court that he is not a danger to anyone. For defendants who are facing drinking and driving charges, entering rehabilitation or treatment for alcoholism can be beneficial during sentencing.
During an emotional hearing on June 4, the defendant was sentenced to five years in prison and another five years on probation. The victims’ family made statements about the emotional toll that the accident took on their family and the huge loss it caused. On the other side, family and friends pleaded for leniency on behalf of the driver who has since gotten sober. The judge compared the actions of the defendant to pointing a loaded gun at someone and killing them on accident. In addition to five years in prison and probation, the defendant will also be treated for alcoholism and attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The defendant has also been ordered to pay $4,280 for funeral expenses as well as perform 500 hours of community service.