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Deadly drunk driving crash sends woman to prison for 16 years

A 25-year-old woman who had once appeared on a reality show produced by Lifetime is headed to prison after she entered guilty pleas for manslaughter, driving the wrong way and disobeying highway signage. A judge in a Virginia court sentenced her to 16 years because she had caused a fatal accident while intoxicated.

The accident happened last November on Interstate 264. Prosecutors reported that her blood alcohol content at the time measured between 0.17 and 0.19. The state police described the crash as a head-on collision caused by driving on the wrong side of the interstate.

The 29-year-old man who died in the accident had been employed in Portsmouth as an information systems technician for the U.S. Coast Guard. He succumbed to his injuries that day after the crash. He had been on his way to serve as a designated sober driver for his wife and friends who had gone out to celebrate her birthday.

Even if a person accused of drunk driving does not cause an accident or hurt anyone, a conviction on criminal DUI charges could result in high fines and jail time. A person could gain advice before appearing in court from an attorney knowledgeable about drunk driving (DUI). An attorney might notice mistakes made by a police officer during a traffic stop that could call into question the validity of evidence. A prosecutor might choose to drop or reduce charges if a defense attorney spots problems with the case. When charges remain in place, an attorney might still succeed at negotiating a plea bargain that limits the extent of penalties.

Source: USA Today, "'Little Women: Atlanta's Melissa Hancock gets 16 years after fatal DUI crash", Oct. 11, 2018

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