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No contest plea in drunk driving accident

The criminal conviction of a drunk driver after an accident causing serious injuries may provide the victim with some sense of justice in that the person will be facing criminal consequences for the drunk driving accident that they caused. But that justice does not justice does not extend to compensating the victim of the crash. Drunk driving accidents often result in severe injuries requiring extensive and often painful rehabilitation, as well as time away from work.

The recent resolution of a criminal drunk driving case highlights the difference between the civil and criminal system. The driver in this case had allegedly been at nearly three times the legal alcohol limit at the time of the crash. In the criminal trial the driver pled "no contest" for the purposes of the criminal trial and sentencing this has basically the same result as a guilty plea, but unlike a guilty plea it does not operate as an admission of guilt for the purposes of a civil trial.

In this case a 19-year-old Michigan woman struck a young woman who was working, delivering newspapers on foot. Not only was the driver's blood alcohol content of 0.23 well above the legal limit, at 19-years old it was not legal for her to drink any alcohol at all.

The victim in the accident suffered multiple fractures in her legs as well as injuries to her foot. She had been standing near the trunk of the car that she and her father used to deliver newspapers when she the car driven by the 19-year-old woman slammed into her pinning her between the two cars

Source: MLive.com, "Young drunken driver guilty in crash that severely injured Chronicle carrier," John Hausman, Feb. 8, 2012

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