A 22-year-old Missouri man has entered guilty pleas for three criminal counts in connection with a fatal car wreck in 2012. The defendant has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault and one count of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the case. It is not clear whether the manslaughter charge is officially considered vehicular manslaughter, though it does also carry weighty implications.
Authorities say that the driver was intoxicated when he caused the fatal wreck in late 2012. The driver had consumed several beers while spending an evening at a comedy club. The young man was 20 at the time of the accident; blood alcohol content standards for underage drivers are even more strict. Still, the man was found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.122 percent, well above the legal limit for driving in the state of Missouri. The accident killed one 24-year-old female passenger and left two others recovering from serious injuries. One victim is still in a coma.
News reports show that a sentencing hearing will occur in early June. The judge in the case must decide among a variety of punishments. The prosecution is seeking serious penalties that would send the man to prison for seven years. However, defense attorneys are pushing for a more lenient option under Missouri law 559. That would allow the defendant to spend a minimum of 120 days in prison and attend alcohol rehabilitation. The defendant would then have an opportunity to serve probation instead of serious prison time.
Defendants who are facing DWI convictions for multiple offenses or other driving while intoxicated charges may benefit from the help of a Missouri defense attorney. These professionals provide assistance that may help protect the rights of those accused of drunk driving. An arrest for drunk driving does not mean that the defendant is automatically considered guilty.
Source: FOX 22 KQFX, “Man pleads guilty in deadly 2012 Columbia crash” Lucas Geisler, Mar. 31, 2014