Robert R. Hart, Jr., Attorney at Law
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Ohio man sentenced to probation for drunk driving death

On Aug. 9, an Ohio man was sentenced to two years of reporting probation in connection to the April 2015 death of a pedestrian in Mahoning County. The defendant agreed to a plea deal in June.

Authorities say the defendant, a resident of Boardman, was drunk when he struck a male pedestrian who was crossing Glenwood Avenue near Mill Creek Park in Youngstown. The victim died as a result of the accident.

The defendant was initially offered a plea deal, but he turned it down, saying he wanted a trial by judge without a jury. He later changed his mind and agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle while impaired. His sentence was handed down by a Mahoning County judge.

Those convicted of drunk driving, OVI or DUI in Ohio could receive harsh penalties, such as imprisonment, heavy fines and the loss of their driver's license. The chances of harsh punishment increase when there is a death involved. However, with the help of an attorney, it may be possible to get drunk driving charges reduced or dismissed.

Depending on the details of the case, an attorney may be able to dispute the accuracy of any breathalyzer or field sobriety tests that a defendant was subjected to. In other cases, legal counsel could discover that police violated a defendant's rights during the arrest. As this case demonstrates, it may also be possible to negotiate for a plea deal that reduces charges and penalties in exchange for the defendant pleading guilty.

Source: WKBN, "Boardman man receives probation in fatal drunk-driving crash," Chelsea Simeon, Aug. 10, 2016

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