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Montana woman gets suspended sentence for fatal 2012 crash

All it takes is one inebriated driver to change the course of a family’s life forever. One Montana family knows this all too well when a member of their family was killed in a drunk driving accident last year. Now, the driver has been sentenced for her role in the crash.

The man who died and the woman who was driving were out drinking and gambling before they entered the vehicle. Court documents note that the driver mixed a dozen or so drinks with some non-prescribed medication, got behind the wheel of her sport utility vehicle, and proceeded to drive in excess of 90 miles an hour.

The deadly car accident occurred when the driver lost control of her speeding SUV on a curve in a 45 mph zone. Neither of the occupants wore seat belts. The woman’s passenger wound up with part of his body crushed under the SUV.

Originally charged with felony negligent homicide, the driver pleaded to a reduced charge of felony criminal endangerment while maintaining her innocence. She ultimately received a 10-year suspended sentence and had to pay a $500 fine along with a public defender fee of $400.

From a criminal law perspective, this woman received a rather lenient sentence. It certainly doesn’t erase the pain she has caused for her passenger’s family. However, they shouldn't have to continue to suffer for their loss.

When people don’t use good judgment and get into their car impaired, they put everyone on the road at risk. It’s important they are held accountable for their actions. That’s when seeking proper legal advice becomes imperative.

Source: The Daily Inter Lake, “Driver sentenced for fatal accident,” June 26, 2013

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