As reported by Gregory Smith in the September 10, 2014 edition of the Providence Journal, a Fall River man previously entered a plea to charges of drunk driving – death resulting and driving to endanger – death resulting. The man was scheduled to be sentenced earlier this week. However, at his sentencing, he asked to withdraw his plea to the charges. The Judge did not decide whether to allow the man to withdraw his plea. The case is scheduled for a further conference in October. If the Judge allows the man to withdraw his plea, the case will then be scheduled for a trial.
Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws 31-27-2.2, drunk driving – death resulting is defined as when the death of any person other than the operator ensues as a proximate result of an injury received by the operation of any vehicle, the operator of which is under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, toluene, or any controlled substance as defined in chapter 28 of title 21, or any combination of these, the person so operating the vehicle shall be guilty of "driving under the influence of liquor or drugs, resulting in death".
The penalties if convicted include imprisonment in the state prison for not less than five (5) years and for not more than fifteen (15) years, in any unit of the adult correctional institutions in the discretion of the sentencing judge, by a fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and his or her license to operate a motor vehicle shall be revoked for a period of five (5) years. The license privilege shall not be reinstated until evidence satisfactory to the administrator of the division of motor vehicles establishes that no grounds exist which would authorize the refusal to issue a license, and until the person gives proof of financial responsibility pursuant to chapter 32 of this title.
(ii) In addition, the person convicted may be required to successfully complete alcohol or drug treatment in a program of their choice, at their own expense, as authorized by a judge of the superior court, and may successfully complete the program before any license to operate a motor vehicle is renewed.
Pursuant to R.I.G.L. 31-27-1, driving to endanger – death resulting is defined as when the death of any person ensues as a proximate result of an injury received by the operation of any vehicle in reckless disregard of the safety of others, including violations of § 31-27-22, the person so operating the vehicle shall be guilty of "driving so as to endanger, resulting in death".
The penalties if convicted include imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years and have his or her license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for no more than five (5) years.
The man had previously agreed to a "capped" plea, meaning his sentence would be "capped" at twenty-five (25) years imprisonment with ten (10) years to serve in connection with both charges. The Judge could have sentenced him to less than ten (10) years, but the term of imprisonment was "capped" at ten (10) years.
If you or a family member has been charged with drunk driving – death resulting, drunk driving or other alcohol offenses, please allow Attorney Robert H. Humphrey's reputation, experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal process. Please contact Attorney Robert H. Humphrey, Esq., at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.