Maryland Judges Trim 12 Years From Sentence in Fatal DWI Crash

Maryland Judges Trim 12 Years From Sentence in Fatal DWI Crash

A panel of judges in Montgomery County, Maryland, recently cut 12 years off the prison sentence of a 21-year-old man who was convicted of vehicular manslaughter charges stemming from a drunk driving crash in which three passengers were killed. The three-judge panel reduced the man's sentence from 20 years to eight years, finding that he had been improperly held responsible for a much broader culture of reckless conduct and underage drinking, the Washington Post reported.

The charges arose from a crash that occurred in the early morning hours of May 15, 2011 as the man drove four friends home from a night of drinking. After crashing the car into a tree, the driver left the scene of the accident and was later apprehended by police, according to the Washington Post.

According to news reports, all three of the passengers who died were also intoxicated at the time of the crash — a factor that may have played a part in the sentencing. The driver was charged with three counts of vehicular manslaughter and one count of leaving the scene of a potentially fatal crash. According the Washington Post, the driver's lawyer told the review panel that a surviving passenger had heard the driver yell "Everybody run!" after the crash, suggesting that he did not understand the gravity of what had occurred.

The court granted a review of the man's sentence under a Maryland law permitting criminal defendants to request a sentence review within 30 days of sentencing at the trial level. Under the adjusted sentence, which is more in line with Maryland sentencing guidelines, the man could be eligible for parole as early as May 2013.

Drivers facing drunk driving charges in Maryland should consult with an experienced DWI defense attorney to discuss the charges and the legal options going forward.

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