In December of last year, a female bishop with the Episcopal Church was involved in a fatal drunk driving accident. The now-ex-bishop recently entered a guilty plea the day before her criminal trial was set to begin. The woman pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and other charges. She is set to be sentenced Oct. 27. Reportedly, the prosecution will seek 10 years in prison and 5 years of probation.
The woman had originally pleaded not guilty to the charges against her in connection with this accident. This is her second drunk driving case. The first case, which occurred in 2010, involved her driving a vehicle with only three tires. At that time, the woman was too intoxicated to safely complete a field sobriety test.
In this most recent case, the woman was drunk when she veered into the bicycle lane. She struck a bicyclist and killed him. She then left the scene of the accident and didn't return for 30 minutes. At that time, her blood-alcohol concentration was almost three times the legal limit.
This plea agreement is one example of how defendants might decide to end a criminal case. Anyone who is facing drunk driving charges and is offered a plea deal should learn how the penalties of the plea deal will affect them. Once that information is known, the defendant can decide if he or she is going to accept the deal or continue to trial. It is important to start working on building a defense so that if the case goes to trial, you will be ready to proceed.
Source: The Washington Post, "Former Episcopal bishop pleads guilty to vehicular manslaughter," Victoria St. Martin, Sep. 08, 2015