By itself, a first DUI offense can bring with it not only serious penalties and consequences, but embarrassment, inconvenience, and shame. However, when a DUI-related accident also results in injury or death to another person, the severity of the charges, and the impact on the drunk driver’s life, are significantly multiplied. DUI charges are seriously prosecuted in Virginia Beach, even if the victim’s family members do not want to press charges. Two recent news stories involving Virginia Beach DUI-related accidents highlight the severity of DUI convictions.
VA Beach DUI Cases
The first story involves 33-year-old Thomas Eldon Walker, of Chesapeake. According to hamptonroads.com, Mr. Walker went out with his best friend of twenty years, 31-year-old Ryan M. Ballard, on a November night in Virginia Beach last year. Around 2:15am, Mr. Walker crashed his vehicle into a parked school bus. The impact killed Mr. Ballard.
Wavy.com reports that Mr. Ballard’s family did not want Mr. Walker to serve a prison sentence for the accident that killed Mr. Ballard. Despite Mr. Ballard’s family’s wishes, Mr. Walker was sentenced to a prison term after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and DUI charges. Mr. Walker was sentenced to five years in prison, however, all of his term was suspended except for 12 months on the involuntary manslaughter charge, and 12 months on the DUI charge. The prison terms were ordered to run concurrently. As part of his sentence, Mr. Walker must have good behavior for five years. Once he is released from prison, Mr. Walker will participate in supervised probation with a mandatory alcohol and mental health treatment program. He will not be able to drive and is ordered to pay a $250 fine.
The second Virginia Beach DUI story, also reported by hamptonroads.com, involved 41-year-old Nathan Bishop Casebolt and bicyclist 49-year-old Willie Thigpen. Mr. Casebolt had crashed into Mr. Thigpen on Virginia Beach Boulevard in September of last year. Mr. Thigpen was riding his bicycle when Mr. Casebolt swerved into the road, knocking him down. As a result of the accident, Mr. Thigpen was in a coma for more than two months and is now in nursing care.
Mr. Casebolt attempted to leave the scene, but was later arrested. His blood alcohol content was measured at .25%, which is over three times the legal limit. Mr. Casebolt has two prior DUI convictions, which may have factored into his sentence. He was ultimately convicted of DUI and sentenced to 13 months in prison.
VA DUI Defense
As these two cases demonstrate, a split-second decision to drive drunk may result in death or injury, jail time, the loss of driving privileges, and fines. Additionally, a DUI record can lead to harsher penalties and consequences on a subsequent DUI charge. If you have been charged with violating DUI laws in Virginia, you should immediately speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney. A DUI defense attorney can explain the penalties and consequences of the charges against you, and can defend your case in court. Contact Garrett Law Group, PLC, today for a confidential consultation.