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Utah judge gives driver in DUI-related death up to 15 years

On Sept. 1, 2013, a Utah woman was driving under the influence. In the early morning hours of that day, she collided with another vehicle, and the driver of the other car died as a result of the injuries she suffered in the DUI-related crash. Witnesses told law enforcement officials that they saw a car similar to the woman's blowing through a stop sign. The vehicle appeared to be traveling at speeds near 80 mph the posted speed limit was only 30 mph -- prior to the accident.

The woman was taken to an area hospital that night to be treated for injuries she suffered in the crash. Officers at the scene reported that the woman seemed extremely impaired. A blood test that night indicated that her blood alcohol content was almost four times the .08 legal limit.

In February of this year, the drunk driver pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide in connection with the woman's death. As part of her plea agreement with prosecutors, the additional charges of reckless driving and being a restricted driver due to alcohol were dropped. A Utah judge recently sentenced the woman to up to 15 years in prison. She will serve at least one year of that sentence.

Being charged with a DUI-related death can carry serious penalties. When faced with seemingly overwhelming evidence of guilt, it may be advantageous to avoid going to trial. This may have been the case with this Utah woman. When balanced against the uncertainty of the outcome of a trial, negotiating a plea bargain with prosecutors could ensure an individual receives a guaranteed result.

Source: sltrib.com, "Utah woman gets prison sentence for fatal DUI crash", Jessica Miller, April 10, 2014

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