On June 9, it was reported that a Virginia woman who was convicted of causing a fatal car accident while drunk behind the wheel was sentenced to 73 years in prison. However, 40 of those years were suspended, meaning she will ultimately spend more than 30 years behind bars.
In August 2016, the woman was driving on Highway 360 in Halifax County when she crashed into a telephone pole. Her fiance's 9-year-old son who was in the vehicle with her was taken to Duke University Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries. The woman was found guilty on six charges in April. These charges included homicide and reckless DUI manslaughter.
The state of Virginia takes DUI charges very seriously, especially if the alleged drunk driving incident resulted in serious injuries or death. In these cases, an alleged drunk driver could face decades in prison, a permanent loss of driving privileges and a lengthy probation term. If no injuries or deaths resulted from the alleged drunk driving incident, a person could face a minimum mandatory jail sentence if the blood alcohol concentration was .15 or higher. He or she could also lose their driving privileges for a significant period of time and be required to undergo alcohol treatment.
A criminal law attorney could investigate several lines of defense that may result in a dismissal of the case or a reduction in the severity of the charges. Depending on the circumstances, the attorney could investigate whether the blood, urine or breath tests can be contested. The attorney may also challenge the traffic stop if there is evidence that it was made without the requisite reasonable suspicion.
Source: WSLS 10, "Halifax County woman sentenced for fatal DUI crash", Colter Anstaett, June 9, 2017