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Virginia teen acquitted of involuntary manslaughter charges

When a young person gets charged with a serious crime, they may face consequences that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Fortunately, many people facing criminal charges are found not guilty and therefore do not have to deal with any life-altering consequences.

A 19-year-old Virginia resident was recently acquitted on charges of involuntary manslaughter after an accident last year. According to authorities, the accident occurred when the woman crashed her car after attending an all-day and all-night concert. Three passengers were seriously injured. Her front-seat passenger was taken to the hospital where he died two days later. The driver suffered a traumatic brain injury and has not completely recovered.

Prosecutors accused the teenager of falling asleep behind the wheel and acting with reckless indifference to the consequences. The judge ruled that there was no factual evidence showing that the woman actually fell asleep behind the wheel. The evidence only showed that her car ran onto the shoulder of U.S. Route 360, then slowed and crashed into a tree on the opposite side of the highway. One of the passengers in the vehicle said that he had offered to drive but the woman rejected his offer. However, based on Virginia law, merely being sleepy behind the wheel is not enough to show intent for involuntary manslaughter.

The teen driver has been sentenced to a suspended jail sentence of a first-offense possession of marijuana that was found in the car. Cases like these prove that with the right criminal defense, anything is possible. Because of a solid defense strategy, the driver will not have an involuntary manslaughter conviction on her record and can now follow her dreams of becoming a nurse.

Source: Times Dispatch, “Teenager wins acquittal in Hanover County manslaughter case,” Bill McKelway, July 29, 2014



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