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Teenager sentenced to 20 years in fatal DUI crash

A Virginia teenager who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a deadly DUI crash was sentenced to prison for 20 years. However, 14 of those years have been suspended, meaning he will only serve six years in prison.

The teenager was reportedly behind the wheel of his vehicle when he crashed on Cold Harbor Road in Hanover on April 23, 2016. Witnesses said that his truck reached speeds of 70 mph or more before slamming into a tree. The crash resulted in the deaths of a 17-year-old and a 22-year-old. Both individuals were reportedly friends of the teen. The teen and three other passengers in the vehicle were taken to a hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

A blood test showed that he had a blood alcohol content of between .069 and .072 percent about one hour after the crash. He pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter. He was also ordered to pay $35,000 in restitution to cover the funeral costs of the two deceased individuals. In a statement to the court, the teen also said that he was attending Alcoholics Anonymous and intended to continue therapy.

Driving under the influence cases can be particularly complex due to the number of factors that can play into them. Regardless, the consequences for even a first offense misdemeanor DUI can be serious. For example, a person could face a driver's license suspension, increased insurance rates and job repercussions. Enhanced punishments are possible if serious injuries or fatalities occurred from the alleged drunk driving incident. An attorney could mount a defense to the charges in some cases, such as challenging the accuracy of the breath or blood tests.

Source: WSLS 10, "Virginia teen in deadly DUI crash sentenced to six years", Aug. 11, 2017

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