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Young woman faces harsh sentence, lawsuit in DUI crash

A young Michigan woman who lost control of the car she was driving while intoxicated, injuring three passengers, will serve up to five years in prison. She is also facing a lawsuit from one of the passengers, who suffered a head injury in the accident.

Though there was a recommended sentence of 12 months, the judge ignored it citing the woman's history of failed treatment for why he decided on a stricter sentence. Nevertheless, it seems to me the woman is very regretful, stating she understood that because of her choices, an innocent person's life has changed forever.

The Ann Arbor woman's lawsuit claims she sustained brain injuries from the accident and was in a coma. The lawsuit also alleges DUI on the driver's part, among other violations such as speeding. The lawsuit is directed against the car's owner as well on the basis that she allegedly knew the driver had a poor driving record. The other two passengers sustained minor injuries in the accident and have not filed lawsuits against the 21-year-old woman.

In this situation, the judge was exceptionally tough on the young woman. It's not clear to me whether the woman had a supportive defense to help her achieve the best outcome in her hearing, but she could have benefited from an experienced lawyer's advice. For those facing similar charges, a careful review of the circumstances and conduct by all those involved is important in building a solid defense. An attorney specializing in criminal defense can protect a client's rights in the courtroom.

Source: Ann Arbor, "Driver who injured 3 passengers after crashing into a tree sentenced to up to 5 years in prison," Kyle Feldscher, Sept. 14, 2011

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