An Ohio man was recently sentenced to 6 ½ years in jail for driving under the influence and causing a fatal accident. The story received national attention when the defendant, 22 year old Matthew Cordle, videotaped his confession and published it in YouTube.com.
Mr. Cordle was “heavily intoxicated” when he drove the wrong way down the highway and hit an oncoming vehicle head-on. Cordle suffered multiple injuries and the other driver lost his life.
Despite his attorney's advice, Cordle chose to plead guilty by filming a video and posting it online. He was very remorseful and apologized to the family of the deceased and promised he would never drink and drive again. In court, he stated that it should have been him who died that night. He also admitted to suffering from alcoholism and entered treatment immediately after the accident.
Cordle was charged with two offenses: drinking and driving and aggravated vehicular homicide. The maximum sentence he could have faced was 8 years for the homicide and another 6 months for the DUI. He received 6 ½ years in prison and has had is license revoked permanently.
In California, the sentence for gross vehicular manslaughter is 4, 6 or 10 years of incarceration which is slightly more severe that Ohio. In addition, a person with past DUI convictions can face even more jail time.
This case brings up the interesting point of whether or not showing remorse and taking responsibility for your bad decisions can help a DUI case. If Cordle showed no remorse, would he have faced the maximum sentence? What if he had pleaded not guilty and denied the accident was his fault or claimed that he was not drinking that night? There is no way to know for sure, but he did what he felt was the right thing to do.