Some time ago, a New York police officer responded to a motor vehicle accident. Sadly, he was struck by another car as he attended the scene and did not survive his injuries. The tragedy led to DWI and other criminal charges against the man who had been behind the wheel of the wrecked vehicle.
The authorities said drunk driving caused the collision. The man was charged and convicted of vehicular homicide and manslaughter, plus several other charges regarding the officer’s death. The court sentenced him to five years in prison. As is often the case when a court ruling is disputed, the situation was reviewed in a state appeals court.
The recent Wednesday court session ended with the review panel vacating the man’s conviction. The appellate court ruled that too much time had passed between the DWI incident and the second accident that resulted in the police officer’s death. An attorney speaking on behalf of the defendant said the court recognized that prosecutors had gone too far by trying to pin responsibility for the second accident on his client.
This New York case is evidence of the fact that convictions are hardly set in stone. This is one of many reasons it’s always best to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to determine what options are available and which course of action best increases a defendant’s chances for a favorable outcome regarding DWI or other criminal offenses. Even when a conviction is secured by prosecutors, there may be appealable issues to pursue in a higher court.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, “Court Tosses Conviction in DWI Accident that Killed Cop”, May 9, 2018