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22-year-old man could face 70 years in prison for DUI

Wake County authorities say that a 22-year-old man who allegedly caused the death of three people in a drunk driving accident could be sentenced to over 70 years in prison. This could be his fate if he is convicted of the drunk driving and felony allegations being brought against him in criminal court -- if he remains in the country and isn't deported back to his native Mexico.

The charges being brought against the man include DWI, three counts of aggravated felony-level death via vehicle and three counts of aggravated felony-level serious injury by vehicle. Three individuals -- a 22-year-old, 21-year-old and 18-year-old -- were killed in the accident, and three individuals were seriously injured.

The crash happened on a recent Sunday at 2:30 a.m. According to police, the man was driving a 1995 Isuzu SUV, traveling approximately 50 mph, when he lost control of the vehicle and it struck a light pole. The vehicle then struck a sign and a tree, and flipped over. Tragically, seven individuals were inside the SUV at the time of the crash.

United States immigration officials say that they plan to file paperwork to deport the man once his criminal proceedings have ended. They are not certain whether the Mexican national is in the United States legally. However, they say that immigration laws will allow them to return him back to his native Mexico, even if his U.S. presence is legal.

Knowing where one stands, and how much one has to lose in the event of conviction, will play an important role in planning an accused drunk driver's criminal defense. For example, if a defendant could spend decades of his or her life behind bars in the event of a conviction, then defense lawyers will try to do everything they can to explore the possibility of prevailing in the defense and getting the charges dropped or dismissed or achieving a verdict of not guilty. If these outcomes are unlikely, then it may still be possible to negotiate a plea bargain deal with the prosecution.

Source: News&Observer, "Driver in Raleigh crash that killed 3 could spend decades in prison," Ron Gallagher, Aug. 22, 2016

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