What was already a dangerous situation could have been infinitely worse for one Maryland woman. She was driving under the influence when she drove on some train tracks she mistook for a road. After pleading guilty to drunk driving, the woman received probation and prosecutors dismissed additional charges originally filed against her.
Shortly after the incident, the woman attended and completed an alcohol treatment program without being instructed to do so. She acknowledged to the court that she learned that alcohol adversely affects a person's ability to make rational decisions. In return, the court sentenced the woman to probation, and as long as she successfully completes that one-year sentence, her conviction will not appear on her record.
On the night of the incident, the woman's car became stuck on the tracks. She exited the vehicle and called 911 for assistance. Even though her mishap interrupted rail service for approximately an hour, no one was injured. Authorities reached an approaching freight train in time to stop before slamming into the vehicle.
For a first time DUI offender in Maryland with an otherwise perfect record, the decision to sentence the woman to probation illustrates an understanding on the part of the prosecution and the judge that people make mistakes. The fact that the woman voluntarily submitted to alcohol treatment showed her remorse regarding the incident. It is not always necessary -- or in the interests of justice -- to "throw the book" at someone when that person understands the gravity of his or her mistake. So long as the woman fulfills the obligations of her probation, she will be able to put the ordeal behind her and move forward with her life unfettered by a DUI conviction.
Source: stardem.com, Drunk driver who got stuck on train tracks receives probation, Carl Hamilton, Dec. 6, 2013