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Woman uses Alford plea to get misdemeanor conviction after crash

A woman from Columbia, Missouri, was involved in a deadly accident on Interstate 70, and reports claimed that she had been drunk at the time that she caused the wreck.

The woman recently went before the Montgomery County Circuit Court, and she used an Alford plea. As a result, she was convicted, but she got a misdemeanor conviction. It was for careless and imprudent driving.

Because of the conviction, she'll now get a 270-day suspended jail sentence. In addition, she'll have to spend 30 days behind bars in the Montgomery County Jail, which she'll start serving on the 18th of December. She'll need to pay the court costs from her case, and she will be on probation for two years. She also has to do community service for 120 hours.

Before the plea, she had been looking at first-degree involuntary manslaughter charges. Had she been convicted on those charges, she would have needed to spend a minimum of five years behind bars. By using the Alford plea, she was able to avoid such a conviction.

For those unfamiliar with an Alford plea, it is a plea that doesn't technically count as an admission of guilt. Instead, the defendant is simply stating that there is enough evidence against him or her to get a conviction.

This story shows why it is so important to know all of your legal options if accused of a crime. By understanding what plea options are out there and when to use them, some people are able to get less time behind bars, even if they are convicted.

Source: Columbia Tribune, "Kelli Smith pleads guilty to misdemeanor in fatal I-70 crash," Alan Burdziak, accessed Sep. 23, 2016

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