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 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.  

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If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New York, there are some facts you need to know.  In New York, DWI cases can be brought under one of two legal theories – DWI “per se” law, which is solely based on alcohol level, not driving impairment, and common law, where the prosecutor must prove that the defendant was intoxicated.

When it comes to the common law theory, the DWI accusation can be based on the opinion of the arresting officer and does not require a blood alcohol level (BAC) reading.  The arresting officer may conclude that a driver is intoxicated if he or she shows an inability to operate a motor vehicle as a reasonable and prudent driver.

A DWI conviction in New York not only may result in a criminal offense, which will go on the driver’s criminal record, it will also cause driving privileges to be suspended.   There are also fines associated with DWI offenses in New York and possible jail time.  The punishment will depend on whether the DWI arrest was for a misdemeanor or felony.  A felony drunk driving conviction can result in time spent in state prison.

If you have been accused of DWI, you should consult with a New York DWI lawyer immediately.  There are drunk driving defenses available and many drivers are wrongfully accused of DWI.  Contact an experienced DWI attorney today at 888-DWI-Answer.com.

Category: Keyword Search: New Jersey DWI

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George Korpita, a former municipal court judge in Morris County, New Jersey was found guilty March 19, 2009, of his second DWI charge.

Korpita was pulled over last February 15, 2008 for careless driving as his vehicle was swerving in and out of traffic.  He recently admitted to driving drunk and was convicted of his second drunk driving charge, as well as refusing to take a breath test.

Korpita did announce in court that he has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and has been sober for over a year. In light of this information, the judge suspended Korpita’s 45-day jail term ruling and ordered him to go to AA meetings six days a week for two years; however, the former judge will be jailed if he misses any meetings.

The court also suspended Korpita’s driver’s license for two years and fined him $2,000.  In addition, the New Jersey Supreme Court suspended Korpita’s license to practice law after he admitted to driving drunk. 

Korpita’s first conviction came after his admittance to driving drunk in Roxbury in 2007 and threatened police who arrested him.  Soon after his arrest, Korpita stepped down from his position in Dover, Rockaway Borough and Victory Gardens.

Category: Keyword Search: New Jersey DWI

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A Hudson County Sheriff’s Officer was charged with a second DWI offense, which caused her suspension.  Sheriff’s Officer Aleisha Cruz was arrested on a drunk driving charge after being involved in a crash.

Cruz has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the police investigation into her arrest early Sunday morning on March 1, 2009.  She was involved in an accident near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel and she was arrested because of her behavior after she refused to take a breathalyzer test, according to officials.

Almost three years ago, Cruz had pleaded guilty to drunk driving and refusing to submit to a breath test in connection to a July 2005 incident in Lyndhurst.  During that incident, Cruz became extremely upset when her date informed her that he wasn’t going to spend the night with her.  She was so angry that she drove her 2005 Ford Explorer into this vehicle, police said.  When her date got out of his car to try to calm her down, she hit him with the SUV, but according to police, he was not seriously injured.

After the July 2005 incident, Cruz entered a pre-trial intervention program and the charges of aggravated assault and assault with an automobile were to be dropped, as long as she stayed out of trouble for 18 months.

Cruz has not been allowed to carry a gun and has been assigned duties that can be completed by an unarmed officer.


Category: Keyword Search: New Jersey DWI

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A man being accused of DWI in New Jersey, is using a rare legal defense known as “pathological intoxication.”  Eugene Baum Jr., a Dover man, has been accused of drunk driving and killing two teenage pedestrians in Kinnelon almost three years ago.

According to the pathological intoxication defense, someone can have a condition where they regularly become so intoxicated that they have no control over their alcohol or drug addictions and are unaware of their actions.

Baum’s DWI defense attorney claims that Baum had been hospitalized three times before the fatal accident two years ago for alcoholism.  On the evening of the crash, he was operating as if he was on “autopilot” and was oblivious to his actions.  His attorney went on to describe Baum as “a sick individual who suffers from a medical condition of pathological intoxication.”

The attorney from the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center feels that Baum’s defense is just a gimmick and said the only time you see such a defense is on a television show, such as Law and Order.

John Kip Cornwell, an associate dean and professor of law at Seton Hall Law School, likened Baum’s pathological intoxication defense to an insanity defense. 

“It’s a very rare defense.  He’s trying to thread a needle that would link all of these things together,” said Cornwell.

Baum has been charged with two counts of first-degree aggravated manslaughter in the April 20, 2006 deaths of Mayada Jafar of Kinnelon, 15, and Athear Jafar of Jefferson, 16.  When Baum was arrested for DWI, his blood-alcohol level was 0.305 percent, almost four times higher than New Jersey’s legal limit of 0.08 percent.

The pathological intoxication claim may be allowed, as involuntary intoxication is not prohibited as a defense. 

Category: Keyword Search: New Jersey DWI