Back in March of 2023, a North Carolina woman lost her lost her life in a crash caused by a man who later tested positive for cocaine. In December of that year, he received a sentence of 2.5 months in jail for his role in the accident. Many people – especially the victim's family – are in uproar over what they say is a ridiculously light sentence. Those facing similar cocaine charges in North Carolina might be wondering how he managed to escape more serious consequences.
Cocaine-Intoxicated Driver Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor Death by Motor Vehicle
This defendant did not attempt to escape all consequences for his actions, and this proved to be an effective defense strategy. Instead of going through a criminal trial, he opted to plead guilty to a lesser offense of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. The court seems to have reacted favorably to this decision, and he was subsequently sentenced to 75 days in jail.
The victim's family was not impressed. Her husband stated (through a translator):
"For us, the punishment is going to last the rest of our lives. How can I answer my child's questions about, 'When is she going to come back?' or 'When is she going to come up from the ground?' A sentence of two months is unfair in my eyes."
How Did He Escape Consequences for Having Cocaine in His System?
The defendant ran a red light before striking the victim at high speed. Although the defendant was unharmed, this impact killed the victim. The defendant remained at the scene and cooperated with the police, who subjected him to various blood tests. Although he tested negative for alcohol, he tested positive for cocaine. The Assistant District Attorney then reviewed the dashcam footage and consulted with the arresting officer. Ultimately, the pair concluded that the defendant was not particularly impaired at the time of the accident.
This wasn't really a case of a brilliant defense strategy but rather a story that highlights the limitations of the law in North Carolina. Due to the circumstances of the incident, there was nothing more that prosecutors could do. However, the fact that he received no punishment whatsoever for cocaine intoxication flummoxed the family's attorney.
Here is the most crucial aspect of this case: A positive blood test is not sufficient proof of possession. Being intoxicated on cocaine is not a crime in and of itself. Although it is illegal to be intoxicated while driving, the prosecutors found no evidence that the cocaine affected the defendant's ability to drive. In addition, it is worth mentioning that the defendant is an Army veteran who honorably served his country.
Find a Qualified Cocaine Defense Attorney in North Carolina
If nothing else, this story highlights the importance of effective defense strategies for those facing cocaine offenses in North Carolina. While this defendant escaped with a relatively light sentence, it could have been much worse. If you are facing similar consequences, it might be worth discussing your situation alongside a qualified defense attorney in North Carolina. Choose Coastal South Law today to get started.