An Annapolis man has pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and several other related charges that were filed against him following a 2011 car accident that left a 20-year-old woman dead. The 30-year-old man is scheduled to be sentenced early next year, at which time he could face up to one year in jail and $1,000 in monetary fines.
The DUI accident took place in July 2011 on Route 50 outside of Annapolis. The woman was driving over a bridge when she reportedly lost control of her car and collided with a guardrail. She was outside, assessing the damage to her car, when she was reportedly struck by an SUV that was being driven by the defendant. The force of the impact caused the woman to be thrown into her car and through the windshield. Emergency responders declared her dead at the scene of the crash.
When police arrived, they allegedly smelled alcohol on the SUV driver and found open bottles of beer inside his car. He told the investigating officers that he had one or two drinks at a club prior to the accident. After allegedly failing three field sobriety tests, he was taken to a nearby facility and given a blood alcohol test, which reportedly showed that his blood alcohol content was over the legal limit.
The driver was then arrested and charged with multiple criminal offenses, including driving under the influence and driving while impaired by alcohol, negligent manslaughter while impaired, speeding and reckless and negligent driving.
In criminal DUI cases, it is important to ensure that the arresting officers follow the appropriate police procedure when conducting field sobriety and blood alcohol tests. If they do not, defendants may argue to have the results of those tests removed from evidence. It is generally more difficult to convict someone of drunk driving without a blood alcohol content over the legal limit.
Source: Capital Gazette, "Man pleads guilty to DUI in deadly 2011 crash," Heather Rawlyk, Oct. 17, 2012