An East Islip man has been charged with drunk driving after allegedly causing an accident in Central Islip earlier in the month. The 29-year-old driver was accused of driving while intoxicated, which caused him to swerve into oncoming traffic and slam into the car of an 84-year-old Long Island woman. Though the woman died, he has not been charged with vehicular manslaughter, but charges could be increased at a later date.
While there is no denying that the woman’s death is a tragedy, it is important to remember that this man also deserves a fair trial. No one should presume that he is guilty; that he was intoxicated at the time of the crash; or that the accident was anything more than that, an accident. Whether he will get the fair trial that he deserves and is entitled to under the constitution, however, remains to be seen.
The problem is that there is such a negative connotation to drinking and driving in the U.S. When people hear that someone was intoxicated or impaired behind the wheel, they are quick to jump down his or her throat. without taking the facts into consideration, a jury may find someone guilty without enough evidence to support a conviction.
By working with a criminal defense attorney, however, a defendant can often reduce the risk of having an unfair trial. The attorney can help select a jury that will give the defendant the chance he or she deserves. The attorney can also prevent the prosecution from influencing the jury with anything other than the facts of the case.
Source: WABC 7, “Man accused of DWI in death of 84-year-old Long Island woman,” N.J. Burkett, May 5, 2014