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Motorist could face up to 20 years in fatal drunk driving crash

A 30-year-old motorist who lacked a Virginia driver's license is facing up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in October on drunk driving and other charges. He pleaded guilty to charges arising out of an April accident that cause the death of a 61-year-old female newspaper vendor. The accident happened as the defendant was driving the wrong way in South Hill, Virginia on U.S. 58, according to prosecutors. Police said his blood-alcohol level was 0.19, over twice legal limit.

Charges that the defendant pleaded guilty to included driving without a license and aggravated DUI manslaughter. It was his second DUI conviction. After his first conviction, a judge barred him for a year from even applying for a driver's license, but apparently, he did not seek one even after that 1-year period expired.

The fatal accident occurred at approximately 2:18 a.m. on a portion of the road where the posted speed limit is 40 mph. Investigators asserted that the defendant's car was traveling at a speed of 55 to 60 mph before it smashed into the newspaper vendor's 1999 Ford Escort.

Convictions on DUI related charges can result in serious life altering consequences, including lengthy prison sentences, high fines and loss of driving privileges, which is often a barrier to finding and keeping employment. Defense strategies can include challenging the scientific reliability of blood and breath testing apparatus equipment or the legality of procedures followed by police in making arrests, conducting interrogations or subjecting motorists to tests for intoxication.


Source: 
TimesDispatch.com, "Oct. sentencing set for man in wreck fatal to newspaper carrier" Mark Bowes, Aug. 22, 2013

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