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Missouri woman sentenced for role in fatal drunk driving accident

A Missouri woman will spend 120 days in the Greene County Jail followed by probation for her role in a 2012 accident that claimed the life of a 23-year-old Fair Grove man. The woman, who is also 23 years of age, had previously entered a guilty plea to the criminal charge of involuntary manslaughter, and her defense attorneys say that the sentence is what they had requested. Prosecutors had been seeking a seven-year state prison sentence for the woman.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the woman was driving a pickup truck southbound on Route 65 near Fair Grove when she struck an SUV. Emergency response personnel pronounced the driver of the SUV dead at the scene. Troopers said that the woman admitted that she had consumed beer and liquor at a bar in Lebanon before getting behind the wheel. The woman is said to have told troopers that she could not remember leaving the bar or driving her pickup truck.

A blood test is said to have found the woman's blood alcohol level to be .134 percent. The legal limit to drive in Missouri is .08 percent. According to one of her defense attorneys, the woman is working to warn others of the dangers of drinking and driving by participating in a Safe and Sober program.

A criminal defense attorney may challenge the conduct of police officers or the results of toxicology tests in a drunk driving case, but they could also recommend that their client enter a guilty plea when the evidence against them is compelling or the possible sanctions severe. An attorney may seek to lessen the penalties assessed by pointing out mitigating factors to prosecutors. Such factors could include their client's previous record of good conduct and their sincere regret that the incident occurred.

Source: Springfield News-Leader, "Woman in drunken, fatal crash gets 120 days in jail", Stephen Herzog, July 22, 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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