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D.C. DUI Manslaughter Cases Complex

by | May 28, 2013

Two D.C.-area DUI manslaughter cases have been grabbing headlines in recent weeks.

One involves a Prince George County man who was found guilty of all 16 counts against him, following a trial in which he was accused of causing the 2011 drunk driving accident that killed three people.

Another case involves a D.C. woman who recently pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and DUI for a drunk driving crash that resulted in the death of a pedestrian.

Our D.C. DUI defense attorneys understand both defendants are facing more than three decades each behind bars, though the terms of the plea deal for the latter will have her facing about seven years.

These cases are not to be taken lightly.

Each of these defendants took two very different paths – one opting for trial and another offering a guilty plea prior to the trial. A decision like that is one that must be carefully weighed against all the available evidence, including not just your alleged blood alcohol level but: crash reconstruction, the the actions of the deceased just prior to the crash, the intoxication level of the deceased, witness statements, officer observations of your actions on the scene and/or during questioning, the investigating officer’s professional background, the specific charges you are facing and your personal and professional background.

All of these things can play a role in your chances at winning a case, or at least negotiating lesser charges or a lighter sentence.

It is on this basis that your attorney will advise you whether it’s best to fight the case at trial or to offer a plea. Your attorney can’t guarantee you success at a trial, but if he or she is knowledgeable, skilled and experienced, you can trust that you will at least go into it knowing all the risks and your general odds.

Some people in these cases will simply opt to offer a plea.

In the case of the 49-year-old D.C. woman who had done just that. She had faced more than 30 years in prison if convicted at trial. Now, she faces a maximum of seven.

Prosecutors say the defendant admitted to smoking crack cocaine and then drinking vodka before getting behind the wheel of her vehicle, which had expired tags and for which she had no valid license to drive. She ran a red light and then she made an illegal right turn. She then lost control of the vehicle and struck a 58-year-old female pedestrian, pinning her against a tree and ultimately killing her. The driver’s blood alcohol level was later measured at 0.09 percent.

She is slated to be sentenced in July.

In the Prince George case, the male driver reportedly driving at 90 miles per hour and had a blood alcohol level of 0.24 percent – three times the legal limit – when he crashed on the Indian Head Highway in the summer of 2011, killing three people.

The defendant’s attorneys had attempted to argue at trial that the defendant had not been the one behind the wheel at the time of the crash. However, the defendant had reportedly told an officer immediately following the crash that he had been driving and that he and a friend were returning from a night club.

He also is scheduled to sentenced in July.

If you are facing DUI charges in D.C., contact the Scrofano Law, PC at 202-765-3175.