R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Probation rejected for intoxicated manslaughter conviction

A 21-year-old motorist was sentenced in a Harris County courtroom to eight years in prison for his role in the death of a nun in 2011. A jury returned a guilty verdict to the drunk driving charge of intoxicated manslaughter and recommended imprisonment. Included with the testimony and other evidence was test results showing the motorist's blood alcohol content level to have been more than two and a half times over the .08 percent legal limit at the time of the accident.

Evidence that the accused motorist spent one night in jail for public intoxication four months before the fatal accident might have been a factor in the jury's decision to recommend imprisonment rather than probation. According to police, the motorist drove through a stop sign and struck the victim's car. He was charged with intoxication manslaughter because his BAC level was .20 percent during the accident.

As this case demonstrates, even a remorseful motorist can be subjected to severe penalties upon conviction of a drunk driving related charge. The drunk driver had visited the nun's grave to ask for forgiveness. The attorney for the accused and nuns who knew the victim felt the case cried out for a showing of mercy in the sentence imposed.

The consequences of a conviction for driving while intoxicated and alcohol related offenses can range from probation and fines to a prison sentence. A person who is accused of a drunk driving charge may benefit from the services of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Depending upon the facts and circumstances of a particular case, a criminal defense could challenge evidence or argue in favor of alcohol and substance abuse alternatives to a prison sentence.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Drunken driver who killed nun sentenced to 8 years," Brian Rogers, Feb. 27, 2013

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