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Vehicular Homicide, a fifteen year felony, can be based on reckless driving even if you beat the DUI

Guilty plea in fatal crash
By Amanda Kramer

The man accused of driving drunk and killing a teenager in a car crash in November was sentenced to serve eight years in prison after pleading guilty to the charges this week. Carroll County Superior Court Judge Dennis Blackmon ordered Stanley Keith Benton, 29, of Newnan to serve eight years in prison followed by seven years on probation in the death of Charles Joshua Story, 19, in 2005.

Benton, represented by Atlanta attorney George Creal, pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving Monday, according to court records.Georgia State Patrol troopers said Story was killed when the 1994 Pontiac Grand Am he was driving was struck head-on by the 1988 Porsche Benton was driving.

Vehicular Homicide cases are very difficult to defend as the situation is tragic no matter the outcome.  Passing field evaluations, mere odor of alcohol without other manifestations of impairment can result in a guilty verdict as the State is only required to prove “reckless driving” and not DUI.  A prior record of DUIs can make the situation even worse.

Georgia has some of the most lenient laws in the country about introducing prior offenses and tainting jurors about the current case with prior arrests and/or convictions.  Some jurors feel it is reckless to drive with any alcohol in your system or even to speed.  Whether or not to have a jury trial is ultimately the client’s decision all a lawyer can do is objectively evaluate the risk of trial and minimize the punishment available in the event of a guilty plead or guilty verdict.

This means that Georgia DUI and DUI related offense defense includes both a legal defense and a creating a record to allow a Court or Prosecutor to be lenient including Alcohol and Drug Evaluation and counseling, rehabilitation if recommended and attendance at 12 step programs like Alcoholic Anonymous.