When you drink and drive, you risk your life and that of other motorists on the road. If someone is injured or killed as a result of your actions, it affects more than your civilian status. A family is left to suffer through the injury or grieve the loss of a loved one. The victim will have to deal with the trauma and memory of the accident for awhile, if not the rest of his or her life.
A 41-year-old man in Pinellas County, Florida will spend the next 15 years of his life behind bars, living with remorse for a decision that cost a 22-year-old man his life, and him his freedom. A recent St. Petersburg Times story reported that the suspect was charged with DUI manslaughter and was given the maximum sentence.
The suspect, who was married with a son, tearfully apologized to the victim’s family, saying that he never intended to hurt anyone. One night in August 2009, the suspect rear-ended the victim’s vehicle on an interstate highway, killing him instantly. He had a blood alcohol content level more than twice Florida’s legal limit.
The victim’s grandmother told the suspect in court that although her son would forgive him if he were still alive, she wasn’t yet ready to forgive him. The victims parent’s were too distraught to attend the sentencing. The presiding judge in the case handed down the maximum sentence primarily because of the victim’s previous DUI convictions.
A son will have to spend the next 15 years without his father in the home because of a tragic error in judgment–one that forced a mother to bury a beloved son. Drinking and driving is simply not worth the risk. The criminal defense attorney in this case undoubtedly tried his best to get a reduced sentence, but his client’s previous DUI convictions made him appear to the judge as someone who not yet learned his lesson and warranted a harsher punishment, which he received.