Though some may argue the contrary, the law is designed to treat all people equally when determining an individual’s guilt or innocence. As New Jersey drunk driving defense attorneys, I and my staff of experienced DWI lawyers have decades of litigation expertise that has served us and our clients well when fighting charges of drunken driving, drug DUI, breath test refusal and other DWI- and DUI-related offenses. If you remember anything about the legal system, it is that every person accused of a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty.
Especially in situations where a motorist has been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated or otherwise impaired by alcohol, doctor-prescribed medication, or even illegal drugs such as cocaine or marijuana, having one’s day in court is often the most important aspect of fighting for one’s legal rights. And while not everyone can expect to be found not guilty, reducing to some extent the typically harsh monetary penalties or even jail time associated with a DWI conviction is another desirable goal of taking one’s case into a court of law.
Of course, the wheels of justice can often turn at a glacial pace, especially in situations where the serious injury or death of an innocent person may have been involved. We are reminded of this many times during the year when so-called high-profile cases are tried in courtrooms throughout the country.
A few days ago, the trial involving well-known actress, Amy Locane-Bovenizer, finally concluded with the sentencing phase of the process. In general, it appears that many people felt the three-year jail sentence received by the defendant was not sufficient considering the nature of the incident. According to news articles, the former “Melrose Place” actress avoided the maximum 10-year prison sentence that many had thought she would receive.
As we reported more than two years ago, Locane-Bovenizer was indicted on charges that she was drunk when the SUV she was driving hit another vehicle back in June 2010. That accident resulted in the death of 60-year-old Helene Seeman and injured the victim’s husband. Court records showed that Locane-Bovenizer had earlier rear-ended a vehicle in Princeton, NJ, but then apparently drove away from the scene. Not long after, the prosecution held that the defendant was intoxicated when her Chevy Tahoe T-boned the passenger side of a Mercury Milan occupied by Mrs. Seeman and her husband, who was driving.
Now, as a result of the earlier trial and now the sentencing, Locane-Bovenizer reportedly must serve time for her part in that fatal crash in Somerset County. Initially looking at a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison based on an early grand jury charge of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, Locane-Bovenizer was convicted by a jury last November of vehicular homicide.
Under New Jersey law, the actress will be eligible for parole only after serving 30 months in jail. According to news articles, the court allowed her to be credited for the 81 days she had already served since her conviction last year. Also as part sentencing following the guilty, she will lose her driver’s license for five years and has been ordered to be on probation for three years following her release from prison. The fines associated with her conviction reportedly add up to several thousand dollars.
Based on news reports, Locane-Bovenizer’s defense attorney argued that the accident was partially caused by the motorist whose vehicle had been rear-ended by the defendant earlier and who was reportedly chasing and honking at the actress prior to the fatal collision. News articles stated that the judge reduced the maximum sentence citing the hardship it would place on the defendant’s two young children.
‘Melrose Place’ actress Amy Locane-Bovenizer sentenced to three years for deadly drunk driving crash that left NJ woman dead, NYDailyNews.com, February 14, 2013