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Former bishop sentenced to prison for fatal DUI accident

New Jersey residents may be interested to learn that a former Episcopal bishop who pleaded guilty to manslaughter was sentenced to prison on Oct. 27. The woman struck a bicyclist in December 2014, killing him. She reportedly fled the scene directly following the accident and only returned when she was encouraged to do so by a friend. Authorities discovered that her blood alcohol levels were about three times the limit. As a result, she was facing 10 years in prison for manslaughter and for leaving the scene. She was ultimately sentenced to 20 years in prison but had 13 years suspended. She also resigned from her position within her church.

The report indicated that the former bishop had been in trouble with the law prior to this incident. In 2010, she was reportedly caught driving by the authorities with a blood alcohol content that was more than three times the limit. It was not known if she suffered any consequences at the time as a result.

A person who is accused of driving under the influence faces a range of penalties if convicted. Depending on the seriousness of the incident and whether anyone suffered any injuries, the accused person could potentially be facing a prison sentence, expensive fines and a loss of driving privileges. This loss of driving privileges could affect the person's ability to seek employment in the future.

An attorney may potentially prevent some of the more serious consequences by either arguing that the evidence demonstrating that the person was impaired was inadmissible or by negotiating with the prosecution to reduce the consequences. For example, if there is evidence that the breathalyzer used to determine the person's blood alcohol content was not calibrated correctly or if the evidence was tampered with, the charges may be dismissed.

Source: CBS News, "Judge sentences ex-bishop who killed cyclist while driving drunk", Oct. 27, 2015

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Former bishop sentenced to prison for fatal DUI accident | The Law Offices of Palumbo & Renaud