Earlier this month, a man who was involved in a fatal accident with a motorcycle was sentenced to the statutory maximum for a second offense in the State of New Mexico. According to one local news report, the fatal accident took place back in 2014, and it involved the defendant crashing his truck into the accident victim’s motorcycle. At the time, the accident victim had his young daughter on the back of the bike. The driver of the motorcycle was killed, and the young girl was seriously injured as a result.
Evidently, this was not the first time the defendant had killed someone while driving drunk. Back in 2008, the same defendant was convicted of another accident involving drunk driving. Back then, he was also given the statutory maximum, which for a first offense is six years in jail. As it turns out, he was paroled after serving about half of the sentence.
Most recently, the judge had no leniency on the man and again sentenced him to the statutory maximum for a second offense DUI-related death, which is 17 years in jail. At the sentencing, there were several witnesses who testified, including one woman who was permanently injured in the first DUI accident. The widow of the man who died in the most recent accident has since made it her goal to reform DUI laws in New Mexico, pushing for firmer penalties.
DUI Accidents in New Mexico
According to statistics complied by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, there are over 100 drunk driving deaths each year in the State of New Mexico. What is even more startling is the fact that this figure accounts for roughly one-third of all fatal traffic accidents in the State. Each one of these deaths was preventable, which makes the loss of life even more tragic.
Drunk drivers put everyone’s lives in danger when they get behind the wheel. To help deter drivers from getting behind the wheel after drinking, New Mexico lawmakers have implemented a system of civil and criminal liability that may arise if a drunk driver causes an accident.
As discussed above, the criminal sanctions that come along with a drunk driving conviction can be severe, resulting in lengthy jail sentences. However, civil cases can also be brought by those affected by the driver’s reckless decision. Generally speaking, the loved ones of a deceased accident victim are entitled to file a wrongful death action against the drunk driver, seeking monetary damages for their loss. If they are successful, the driver or his insurance company may be liable to the victim’s family for a substantial amount of compensation.
Have You Lost a Loved One in a New Mexico DUI Accident?
If you have recently lost a loved one in a New Mexico car accident, you may be entitled to monetary damages. The skilled advocates at the Fine Law Firm have years of experience bringing cases against negligent and drunk drivers. Call 505-889-FINE to set up a free consultation with a dedicated personal injury attorney at the Fine Law Firm today.
More Blog Posts:
DWI Suspect Involved in Fatal New Mexico Crash Free on Bond Awaiting Trial, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 27, 2015.
Construction Site Accident in Rio Rancho Kills One and Injures Several Others, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, September 8, 2015.