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Tennessee man receives 12 years probation for vehicular homicide

For most people, a DUI charge in Tennessee may be their first encounter with the criminal justice system. While the penalties for a DUI vary, depending on whether you have had any prior DUI convictions, even a first time offense can be very unpleasant.

If you have had more than one conviction, the penalties can become much worse, including prison time and substantial fines. And you should always remember that a guilty plea is a conviction and it counts towards the enhancement of any penalties for a subsequent DUI conviction

However, there is a great range in the type of sentences you may receive to a DUI conviction. A case in point comes from across the state, where a man was arrested after striking a car and killing the driver. He was found to be driving at 60 mph in a 40 mph zone, and subjected to a "force blood draw" by police

That blood test showed he had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.14, well above Tennessee's 0.08 legal limit. The blood test also showed the presence oxycodone, a prescription painkiller. According to the new report, he admitted he had been drinking alcohol, but said he was not driving at the time of the accident. Perhaps, somewhat unhelpfully, he claimed his drug dealer was driving.

Nevertheless, because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a "forced blood draw" without a warrant was unconstitutional, the BAC was inadmissible and the prosecutor accepted a plea to vehicular homicide. While he only received 90 days in jail, he will have to serve 12-years probation.

The story does not detail the conditions of the probation. If he is permitted to drive again, it is likely that it will be restricted, and he could very well have to wear an electronic bracelet that can monitor if he consumes any alcohol and he could be required to install an ignition interlock on his vehicle.

This could be an expensive proposition for 12 years. Moreover, any violations of his parole may lead to immediate prison time. However, if he also receives treatment that is effective at controlling his substance abuse, it may be more effective than years in prison.

Source: Daily News Journal, "Brentwood man charged after 2012 crash pleads guilty to vehicular homicide," Michelle Willard, May 21, 2014  

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