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Man enters blind plea after fatal drunk driving accident

A Missouri man pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter following a fatal accident near the Six Flags theme park. The 46-year-old man has no criminal record in the state and has reportedly entered a 'blind plea." By entering a blind plea, the man disagrees with the state's recommendation of a six-year prison sentence and agrees to take a sentence that is determined by the judge. The defendant was being held at St. Louis County Justice Center while awaiting his sentencing on Sept. 11.

The drunk driving incident happened on Sept. 27, 2012, while the accused man was driving along Interstate 44 near Eureka. At approximately 5 a.m., the man's vehicle hit a guardrail before spinning out of control and coming to a stop in the middle westbound lane. When a 34-year-old man driving a tractor-trailer approached the stopped vehicle, he was unable to avoid a collision, and his truck overturned. The truck driver died immediately.

Six hours after the car accident, the accused driver was given a blood test that found him to have a blood alcohol content of .187 percent. One hour after the first test, a second test determined that his blood alcohol content was .167 percent.

A person who has been faced with charges for a similar offense may wish to consult an attorney before deciding how to plea. Although there is a possibility that a blind plea could lead to a shorter sentence than what is recommended by the state, it could also lead to a longer sentence. By entering a blind plea, the length of a defendant's prison sentence is at the discretion of the judge, and the possibility of working out a plea deal has been abandoned.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Man admits drunken driving in fatal crash at Eureka", Joel Currier, July 14, 2014

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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