Bill seeks restitution for Maryland drunk driving victims

Bill seeks restitution for Maryland drunk driving victims

Last December, a bicyclist was killed in Baltimore, Maryland, after being struck by a vehicle driven by a bishop who had previously been convicted of drunk driving. Thirteen charges have been filed against the woman, including manslaughter by vehicle, automobile manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, failure to remain at the accident scene and texting while driving.

According to a Maryland state senator, that accident was the catalyst for the state’s General Assembly to take action against drunk drivers. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jamie Raskin, would allow for fines against those who are responsible for injuries or death that occur while they are driving while intoxicated or with a revoked or suspended license. The bill would require drunk drivers with a blood alcohol content of .16 or higher to pay the fine as restitution to the victim or his or her family.

The bill could also make the fines possible if the injury or death was caused by someone who, within the last five years, had a plea, conviction or sentence of probation.

The bishop’s charges in the bicyclist’s death have also moved the legislative body of the Episcopal Church to act. They are considering tougher standards and scrutiny when electing church officials. The election of the bishop has been called a “seeming failure of the process.” She was elected as bishop; however, not everyone who was voting knew she had a previous conviction for drunk driving.

When facing a charge for drunk driving, it’s important to ensure that you have experienced legal representation. The penalties are serious and can affect all aspects of your life, including your career, social life and family.

Source: The Washington Post, “Maryland would fine drunk-drivers to provide restitution” Feb. 10, 2015

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