A New Jersey man has been charged with driving while intoxicated following an accident that left one of his two passengers dead. The 20-year-old man turned himself in to police and was taken to the county jail. Other charges against him include vehicular homicide, underage driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.

Police say they were called to the scene of a single vehicle accident where the driver had been speeding when he veered off the road and hit some trees before coming to a stop. The driver and the passenger in the front seat were sent to the hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries before being released. The backseat passenger, however, was not responsive upon the arrival of the officers. He was not wearing his seat belt and had severe head injuries. He died after he was transported to the hospital.

Bail was set for $75,000, and the driver was not given the option to just pay 10 percent in order to secure his release. There is a possibility he could serve up to a 10-year prison sentence if he is convicted of the vehicular homicide charge. A report did not mention if he underwent any field sobriety tests at the scene or blood testing at the hospital. His blood alcohol level at the time of the accident was also not released by officials.

The driving while intoxicated, vehicular homicide and other charges against this man are serious. A conviction regarding any of them can negatively impact the rest of his life. However, he does have a right to a defense that seeks the best possible outcome for his situation. In New Jersey, a person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty, and the burden is on the prosecution to provide that proof in accordance with the strict requirements of our criminal justice system.

Source: nj.com, “Howell driver charged in deadly drunk driving crash, authorities say“, Ashley Peskoe, July 8, 2014

Tags: blood test, driving while intoxicated, field sobriety test