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Man pleads guilty to DUI after Charleston crash

A man in Charleston, South Carolina, admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol when he crashed into a vehicle driven by a 78-year-old woman, which killed her. The accident happened in late 2011 and the man originally went to trial just recently to face a jury and fight his charges.

Instead, after just one day of testimony in court, the man and his legal team changed their plea and pleaded guilty to felony DUI. The man and his defense team likely weighed their options and explored how a guilty plea might affect his subsequent sentence. They might have realized that there was an overwhelming amount of evidence weighing against him, which would not help his chances in court.

The first day of testimony certainly did not help the man as witnesses recounted to a jury how they spotted the man speeding and swerving in his vehicle along I-26 heading eastbound, leading up to the crash. They said he hit a guardrail on the side of the road, and bounced into the median before he stuck the woman's vehicle near Rutledge Avenue. The woman passed away from internal injuries she suffered in the collision.

An official with the Ninth Judicial Circuit Solicitor's office also explained that law enforcement found two mini bottles of alcohol that were opened in the man's car.

During the second scheduled day of testimony, a witness was planning to highlight that a blood alcohol test revealed the man's blood alcohol content was at .238, which is almost tree times the legal limit of .08.

The man was sentenced to nine years in prison.

The man's charges were compounded by the death he caused. Still, DUI charges alone can carry serious consequences, like jail time or loss of a license. Instead of rushing into the plea, accused drivers should first weigh their options.

Source: ABC News 4, "61-year-old with felony DUI pleads guilty," Jan. 10, 2013

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