Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma, P.C.
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  • 908-454-3200Phillipsburg, NJ
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  • 908-475-2500Belvidere, NJ

September 2009 Archives

PA LAW ON DUI WHEN DEATH OCCURS

A few months ago, 28-year-old National Football League star Donte Stallworth began an abbreviated jail term for his act of killing a pedestrian while driving drunk in Florida in Macrh. Because of Stallworths cooperation with investigators and the wishes of the victim's family, his sentence was drastically reduced. Stallworth pleaded guilty this past Tuesday to manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol in exchange for a lighter sentence. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail in addition to a lifetime ban on his drivers license. He was also ordered to pay $10,000 in fines and to perform 1,000 hours of community service. The average jail sentence for similar crimes in Florida is 10 years, but Stallworth reached a confidential financial settlement with the victim's family. After his release from jail, Stallworth must serve two years of house arrest and spend eight years on probation.
In Pennsylvania, driving under the influence occurs when an individual drives, operates or is in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol such that the individual is rendered incapable of safely driving, operating or being in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle. Penalties for a first offense conviction of a DUI can range from a substantial fine to six months of probation. Subsequent offenses carry stiffer penalties, including significant jail time.
Subsequently, in Pennsylvania the crime of involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person as a direct result of the doing of an unlawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, or the doing of a lawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, causes the death of another person. Driving a car drunk is considered an unlawful act in Pennsylvania and could subject a guilty defendant to possible involuntary manslaughter charges. Penalties for a first offense conviction of an involuntary manslaughter charge range from a loss of license, a significant fine, and can include substantial jail time. 

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Phillipsburg Office
305 Roseberry Street
Phillipsburg, NJ 08865

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Bethlehem, PA 18018

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