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Med student sentenced for DUI, loses school

Posted on 08/26/12

An Oregon pre-medical student has been sentenced to 17 months in prison, three years of probation and a suspended driver’s license for five years. Additionally, his arrest will preclude him from returning to medical school. The student was driving drunk when he struck a motorcyclist, who was injured in the accident. According to his attorney, the student made good grades and rarely drank, but in celebrating the end of final exams in June, made a few bad choices.

Though the student does not have a prior criminal record, his sentence reflects Oregon state sentencing guidelines elevating the penalty for assault if committed under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the lost opportunity to return to medical school are both tragic results to a momentary lapse in judgment.

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is a serious decision to make with serious consequences to the driver and the people around them. In this case, the driver’s alcohol level was 0.21 at the prison — well above the legal limit. He was obviously incapable of thinking clearly with that much alcohol in his system. Fortunately, the injuries in this case were not very severe, and all parties involved survived. However, their lives will never be the same due to a mistake.

This case took place in Oregon, but a Colorado resident would face similar consequences. This driver’s blood alcohol level was 0.21: In Colorado, any case in which the driver’s blood alcohol level is over 0.17 they are subject to greater penalties and may be considered a persistent drunk driver. These elevated penalties can follow the driver around for a long time, even permanently, such as this case showed in regards to medical school. In addition, refusal to submit to DUI testing can result in charges.

For people accused of DUI, it can be a frightening experience. Speaking with a qualified criminal defense attorney can ease the stress and provide guidance to make the right choices moving forward.

Source: Albany Democrat-Herald, “OSU student sentenced for drunk driving, crash,” Canda Fuqua, Aug. 24, 2012