A 22-year-old man has pleaded guilty to three criminal counts in connection with a fatal 2012 drunk driving accident. The man, who was 20 at the time of the accident, had been charged with two counts of second-degree assault and a single allegation of involuntary manslaughter. Sentencing in the DWI case is scheduled for early June.
Prosecutors in the case say they are seeking a seven-year prison term, but the man’s criminal defense attorneys say they will push for a more lenient sentence. They argue that their client may qualify for a reduced sentence under a Missouri law that limits prison time and encourages rehabilitation instead of long-term punishment. A sentence drafted under Missouri law 559 would lead to a 120-day minimum prison stay, and the defendant would be required to attend rehabilitation for alcohol use. The man would then be subject to probation instead of an extended prison term.
A judge in the case will have to decide whether such a lenient set of penalties would be appropriate for the driving while intoxicated violation. The defendant is accused of getting behind the wheel after drinking several beers at a Columbia nightclub. His blood alcohol content level measured at 0.122 percent at the time of the wreck. Authorities say that the man struck a truck after crossing the centerline, killing a 24-year-old woman and injuring two other people. One victim is reportedly still in a coma.
Criminal defendants who are facing allegations of driving while intoxicated in conjunction with other serious charges may benefit from the assistance of a Missouri defense attorney. These professionals may be able to provide additional information about plea agreements. Guilty pleas can be useful tools for some defendants, though they are not appropriate in all cases.
Source: KMIZ.com, “Man pleads guilty in deadly 2012 Columbia crash” Lucas Geisler, Mar. 31, 2014