Drunk driving is a serious issue in New Jersey. Drunk drivers not only put their own lives at stake, but they also pose a threat to every other driver on the road. When a person is injured or killed due to a drunk driver, they may be able to hold that driver liable for the injuries they suffered.
Prosecutors in another state are seeking the maximum penalty for a man who confessed to driving under the influence and causing a fatality in a widely-viewed video on the video-sharing website YouTube. The man confessed in the video that he was prone to blackouts after drinking but chose to drive under the influence of alcohol anyway, causing an alcohol-related accident that killed the other driver. He was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol.
The prosecutor stated that while the man’s confession, which has been viewed more than 2 million times on YouTube, was sincere, but also that there was a need for tough sentences in DUI cases. The prosecutor stated that his decision to seek the maximum penalty was based on the man’s decision to drink and drive despite his knowledge of his tendency to blackout and his refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test. The man is facing eight-and-a-half years in prison, $15,000 in fines and the loss of driving privileges for life.
While criminal charges and stiff penalties like these may hopefully serve as a deterrent to other drivers and send the message that drunk driving will not be tolerated by the law, they do little to support victims’ families during this vulnerable time. Families may be overwhelmed by medical and funeral expenses, lost wages and other costs. Fortunately, anyone affected by a drunk driving accident may be entitled to seek monetary damages from the defendant in a personal injury judgment. The damages are awarded to compensate for medical bills, lost wages and any disability incurred as a result of the accident.
Source: New Jersey Herald, “Prosecutor seeks maximum for Ohio DUI confessor,” Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Oct. 17, 2013.