Last week a drunken driving murder trial began in Suffolk County, New York, and it is the first of its kind in the area in over 14 years. Police claim that the accused driver's blood-alcohol concentration was nearly quadruple the legal limit, or 0.30 percent, when he allegedly struck an SUV being driven by an 18-year-old woman.
Prior to the collision, police say that the man drove through red lights at almost 100 mph and even drove up onto a sidewalk. Tragically, the 18-year-old woman's SUV flipped over several times before it crashed into a utility pole. She was pronounced dead at the accident scene.
Authorities have charged the driver with second-degree murder. Police allege that the man ignored pleas that he stop driving before he caused a fatal accident. They say he drove along a sidewalk for three blocks, destroying street signs and causing pedestrians to jump out of the way.
Accused Driver Is a Father and Husband
Still, as intense as these charges are, the driver's criminal defense attorney paints a different picture of the accused man. His attorney said that the man is married, has a 4-year-old son, and that he believes in his client's innocence. The attorney refused to comment about specific details from the case, but he said that he will defend his client vigorously.
Although further details have not been revealed in this case, it is probable that the prosecution will pursue the type of second degree murder allegations known as depraved indifference murder, which is a type of reckless homicide. In order to obtain a conviction in such a case, the prosecution must show that the defendant created a grave risk of death through recklessness and through a depraved indifference to human life.
Driver Could Spend 25 Years in Jail if Convicted
If convicted, the driver could spend 25 years behind bars. However, it is possible that the man's criminal defense attorney has good reason to believe in his client's innocence. For one, convictions in New York for depraved indifference murder are increasingly rare, and they usually require that an individual's conduct endangered a group of individuals instead of just one victim. Whether this man's conduct will be viewed in that light by a New York judge and jury remains to be seen.
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