Bicyclist Hit By Alleged Drunken Driver Dies
Attorney Matthew Nebeker comments on news item in www.SLTrib.com about a South Salt Lake man who was critically injured last week when he was struck by a car driven by an allegedly drunken motorist died early Wednesday.
This article demonstrates how serious and dangerous drinking and driving can be. The actions of this driver will affect him for the rest of his life, whether he is sent to prison or not. I can only imagine what the deceased man’s family is going through. The driver, as horrific as his actions may seem, is presumed innocent and is entitled to a vigorous defense.
The article indicates that the case will be screened by the prosecuting attorney for enhanced charges. I am almost certain that he is currently charged with a Third Degree Felony Driving Under the Influence, for the serious bodily injury that he has inflicted pursuant to Utah Code Ann. 41-6a-503. With that level of charge the Driver faces 0 to 5 years in the Utah State Prison and up to $5000.00 in fines. The Driver could be looking at an enhanced charge of Automobile Homicide under Utah Code Ann. 76-5-207, which could result in a 1 to 15 year prison term, and up to $10,000.00 in fines.
One of the goals in representing this Driver is going to be trying to prevent the enhancement, or attacking the enhancement if the prosecution amends the charge. Going from a third degree felony to a second degree felony could cost this Driver ten years of his life. If the charge is enhanced it will because the driver has prior convictions for DUI, or its is believed he operated his vehicle in a criminally negligent manner, while over the legal limit. The defense will be attacking the underlying convictions by making sure the Driver’s rights were not violated in those prior cases, or attacking the definition of the criminal negligence as it applies to the statute. After that, the defense will be focusing on how the state arrived at that high level of blood alcohol. It is unlikely that if they took a sample of the drivers blood, it would be back from the State Lab so quickly. For purposes of the article they may have been referring to a portable breath test, (PBT) but those are not scientifically reliable, as they are not regularly maintained and calibrated. This driver needs an experienced DUI Defense Attorney to get the best possible outcome.