From an emotional standpoint, a case where someone is accused driving under the influence and killing another person is one of the toughest. With the victim, you usually have someone who did not deserve to die. They are often young, in the prime of their lives. They are usually also close to the driver. The victim is often a spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, or sibling of the accused. Unfortunately, that person is not available to express forgiveness to the driver.
As for the driver, you often have a person who has never been in trouble in his life. He may be college educated, have a great job, and a loving family. But for this horrible incident he would have continued to be an upstanding citizen.
Recently, a San Jose woman pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter after hitting and killing a 79 year old grandmother. She is waiting to be sentenced by a Santa Clara County judge. Her maximum possible sentence is 12 years in the state prison. In fact, the judge is precluded from granting this woman probation unless he finds “unusual circumstances” where the interests of justice require it. According to statements, the family of the victim has forgiven the defendant, and believes that the victim would forgive her as well. Unfortunately, California DUI sentencing law provides somewhat less opportunity for the Court to forgive her.
As a former prosecutor, I can tell you that, regardless of the outcome, nobody wins in these cases. Regardless of what side you are on there is nothing but tragedy in these cases. An innocent victim loses her life, and a contrite survivor is cast into the hell of the California prison system.
State troopers from the Georgia State Patrol’s Colquitt post and Sheriff’s deputies set up a DUI checkpoint at the intersection of Georgia 262 North and Georgia 97 North near the Vada community.
According to GSP Cpl. Kyle Duke, two vehicles, a passenger car and a SUV, started to approach officers before turning around. This action caused suspicion and the two vehicles were stopped. As a state trooper searched the SUV, he found several small plastic bags filled with suspected marijuana. The SUV’s driver, Violet Argo, 40, of Douglasville, Georgia, was arrested for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and also for driving under the influence of drugs. Her passenger, Ricky Lee Maxwell, 45, of Atlanta, Georgia, was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
Belinda Suzette Stewart, 47, of Brainbridge, was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana, driving under the influence of drugs in Georgia and having an expired vehicle tag.
Captain Chip Nix of the Sheriff’s Office went to a house on Swindell Road in connection with the same incident. Nix conducted a probable-cause search and found additional marijuana, which resulted in another man’s arrest for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
According to Decatur County Jail records and the Georgia State Patrol, there have been a slightly higher than usual number of drug-related arrests made by local law enforcement over the past two weeks.
A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs in Georgia can carry significant consequences, including a loss of license, higher insurance rates, mandatory ignition interlock, travel limitations, and possibly jail time.
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