Honesty, Mercy Get Lenience in DUI Manslaughter

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Thanks to his honesty and the kindness of the victim’s family, University of Georgia student Carl Phelps was able to finish college before turning himself in to serve time on a manslaughter driving under the influence charge, according to the Panama City, Fla. News-Herald.

In what sounds like a spring break trip gone horribly wrong, Phelps accidentally killed his friend, Reggie Bostick, while pulling a Ford F-350 into the driveway of a Florida vacation home last year. According to the article, Bostick may have been lying down. Phelps pleaded no contest to the charge May 9, but the judge delayed his sentencing until mid-July, to allow him time to finish his degree. Phelps will serve four years in prison, then 11 years of probation and 500 hours of community service. In addition, his driver’s license has been revoked for life. But he could have drawn up to 12 years in prison, according to the article, if it hadn’t been for Bostick’s family, who asked the judge for mercy.

Phelps’ cases shows what can happen when a DUI defendant is willing to cooperate with the legal system — and has retained a good attorney. His willingness to return for his sentencing hearing when he could have fled undoubtedly played a part in his light sentence, as did following all the rules the judge set for him. If he had refused to cooperate, been caught leaving the country or even just hired a bad attorney, it’s unlikely that he would have received just four years in prison.

DUI manslaughter is a very serious charge — in Georgia, it’s a felony punishable with serious jail time. A conviction for driving under the influence could follow you for the rest of your life, affecting your job prospects, relationships, even how you get to work in the morning. If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Georgia, you need good advice about when to cooperate with the authorities — and when to politely say no. The DUI defense professionals can help. Contact Georgia DUI Lawyers today.