Criminal Penalties in Motor Vehicle Accident Cases
This week, a Texas court sentenced a truck driver to ten years of jail time. The sentence resolves a criminal case that has been pending since last fall. According to a plea agreement, however, the trucker will only serve one of those ten years.
The harsh criminal penalties applied in this case because of the egregious disregard for public safety that the trucker apparently demonstrated. Last fall, the driver tried to execute a U-turn on an interstate highway. While trying to turn, the trucker hit a smaller car driving the opposite direction. The impact killed the 56-year-old driver of that vehicle.
Like many truck accidents, this crash resulted in involuntary manslaughter charges against the driver. Criminal penalties are just one way in which the victims of trucker negligence can hold drivers and truck companies accountable. Truck accident victims are often entitled to seek compensation from defendants in civil cases as well.
The same trucker or defendant can be subject to both types of cases: one criminal case that results in penalties like prison or fines payable to the state and a civil case in which the victim can recover damages.
Source: TriCities.com, "Texas truck driver convicted in fatal Wythe County crash," May 9, 2013