Years After Arrest, Missouri Drunk Driving Trial Finally Ends

In March 2010, Missouri police pulled over a man in Franklin County for a traffic violation. Officers believed that the man was “following another vehicle too closely,” so they pulled him over and apparently had probable cause to conduct field sobriety tests. This eventually led to drunk driving charges and a conviction over two years later.

According to the police, the Missouri man blew a .095 on a Breathalyzer. This reading put the man just over the legal limit of .08 percent. In some cases, when a person’s blood-alcohol concentration is significantly over the legal limit, they will face more serious charges. In this case, the man was charged and convicted for misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.

The jury in this case came back with a guilty verdict. In response to the charges, the jury suggested that the man should pay fines for both the DWI charge and traffic violation. After receiving the jury’s decision, the judge set a sentencing date for July.

Generally speaking, people charged with DWI are tried in an expedient fashion. After all, the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees that criminal defendants will be granted a speedy trial before a jury of peers. If the trial is delayed too long, the defendant could be put at an unfair disadvantage.

Although it’s not clearly defined what is “speedy” or not in the Constitution, individuals charged with a crime should typically be tried within a year of being arrested. Of course, circumstances are different in every case, but taking two years between arrest and conviction seems a bit lengthy.

Knowing how long this case has been going on many may be asking: Why did it take so long for the prosecution to move forward with this case?

Source: The Missourian, “Jury Finds Man Guilty of DWI,” May 29, 2013

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