We’ve said it before, but once again it bears repeating; causing a traffic death while driving under the influence here in Maryland or the District of Columbia is simply unforgivable and no amount of excuses or apologies can make things right again. If you don’t believe this, consider the recent sentence levied against a 25-year-old driver from Rockville, MD, who will be spending the prime of his life behind bars for the untimely drunk driving deaths of two innocent people.
As Baltimore auto, trucking and motorcycle accident attorneys providing personal injury representation to Maryland residents, there is no redeeming characteristic that trumps a fatal DWI, DUI or drug-related traffic accident that leaves another person dead or maimed for life. The seemingly harmless act of becoming drunk, turns into a jailable offense when an individual gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and essentially turns it into a deadly and random weapon.
Such was the case of Alejandro Roman, who was recently sentenced to two consecutive 10-year jail terms by a Montgomery County judge in the vehicular homicide deaths of two Maryland men. Some may argue that the defendant should have received a harsher sentence, however under Maryland law 10 years in prison is the longest sentence allowed for this kind of crime. Even so, others tend to believe that 20 years is rather strict. We’ll let history be the judge.
According to police reports, Roman was driving his Acura at nearly two times that posted speed limit last October when he struck the two pedestrians along a stretch of Rockville Pike in White Flint, MD. Police stated that the man was legally drunk at the time of the accident and that his vehicle was estimated to be traveling at 76mph in a 40mph zone.
A former sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, Roman reportedly said that he was deeply sorry for the deaths of the two individuals. According to court records, the defendant pled guilty to both counts of vehicular manslaughter last March. Based on news reports, police apparently held Roman in custody, but following an interview the man was not initially charged with any crime.
Even though the 20-year sentence is considered strict by some, news reports show that eight years of his sentence were suspended and he will also be required to serve probation amounting to five years immediately following conclusion of his prison sentence. The judge who handed down the sentence said that he was moved by the comments of family and friends of the two victims, as well as the 244 letters he personally received.
Since 1980, Maryland sentencing guidelines have been calculated by the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy, which oversees the establishment and recording of sentencing guidelines. This committee is appointed to review criminal history and previous sentencing to come up with acceptable guidelines for Maryland’s courts, all of which are voluntary and left to the discretion of the presiding judge.
According to news articles, the judge in the Roman case reportedly looked at the sentences handed down in similar cases over the past five years. From that, he said that out of 148 cases of vehicular manslaughter, just 15 sentences were above recommended guidelines, while 10 defendants served no prison time at all.
Rockville man sentenced to 20 years in prison for vehicular death of two men, WashingtonPost.com, May 18, 2011