A judge in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court recently sentenced a man charged with second-degree murder and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing death to between 30 and 75 years in prison. In addition, the man must pay $35,000 in fees and penalties to the victims' families and to the state.
After deliberating for several hours, the jury found the man responsible for causing the death of two young men after he was drinking and driving and crashed into their car. According to an accident reconstructionist, the man's vehicle crashed into the back of the car the two victims were sitting in and caused it to veer into a ditch and then hit a tree. According to police, the man's blood alcohol level was 0.263 approximately four hours after the accident. In Michigan, this is more than three times the legal limit.
Like many people convicted of a drinking and driving-related offense, the man was very apologetic to the victims' families for his actions. In court, he addressed the victims' families to express his sorrow and regret for drinking in the first place.
As this man's statements show, sometimes what someone charged with drinking and driving really needs is help with drug or alcohol abuse, not merely punishment. In some situations, a commitment to participate in drug or alcohol abuse programs can reduce a potential prison sentence.
The consequences of drinking and driving in Michigan are severe, especially in cases such as this where deaths occur. Possible consequences include jail time, probation, license suspensions and revocations, fines, costs and additional fees.
It's also important to remember that police make mistakes and sometimes innocent people face charges. A criminal defense attorney can plan a strong defense and also negotiate with the prosecution.
Source: Kalamazoo Gazette, "Bret Frame sentenced to at least 30 years for causing death of two men," Lynn Turner, May 14, 2012