How Teen Only Sentenced to 6 Years for DUI Manslaughter
Underage drinking is generally deemed as just “irresponsible.” What happens when underage drinking results in the untimely death of an innocent bystander? A 19-year-old will be spending a long time in prison for driving drunk, crashing and killing a man.
Beruch Zegeye, then 17, had spent a day partying with other Benjamin high school students, ingesting multiple Xanax tablets and drinking beer. Although his friends took his keys from him, he found them and chose to drive. Traveling at 80 miles per hour in his father’s Porsche, he slammed into the back of 45-year-old pizza deliveryman, Paul Krommendyk’s car in Palm Beach Garden in September 2008.
Krommendyk died instantly.
Zegeye was facing 13 to 20 years in prison under Florida’s procedures following his guilty plea to DUI manslaughter last year. With credit to his criminal defense lawyer, Zegeye got off lucky with only six years in prison followed by seven years probation.
“Nothing compares to the pain you all are suffering” Zegeye said remorsefully in his brief prepared statement.
Zegeye has been ordered by the circuit judge to regularly speak before student groups of the perils of impaired driving. The judge also gave Zegeye a break on his sentence because she ruled his crime isolated and unsophisticated.
There are defenses in DUI accident cases, which an experienced and capable criminal defense lawyer can use. Even if you made a statement to police during your arrest, your criminal defense lawyer can usually get that evidence thrown out of court. Any statement you give officers cannot be used against you due to the Florida accident report privilege.
Getting charged with a DUI is a serious offense and it could impact your life forever if you are convicted. Each year, states impose tougher DUI laws and more severe drunk driving penalties. Florida is no exception. Have the number of a criminal defense lawyer in your wallet at all times. The faster you have access to a criminal defense lawyer after a DUI, the better your chances are.