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21-year-old faces two counts of drinking and driving

A Columbia, South Carolina, man faced charges of drinking and driving after two people died in a fatal accident on Sept. 2. The man was held in custody for two drunk driving charges and one count of driving on a suspended license; bond was set at a total of $31,270.

A South Carolina Highway Patrol Officer reported that the driver was going north at about 7 p.m. that night when his 2008 Saturn veered into the oncoming lane of traffic, hitting two motorcycles in a head-on collision. The man and woman both died; the accused was treated at a medical facility although his passenger was not hurt.

His criminal defense attorney told the court that the 21-year-old attends a university in the area and works two jobs to pay for his schooling. In addition, his parents contribute to the costs of his education. He claimed that the suspect has strong ties to the community and isn't a danger to the public. However, a law enforcement officer said the university student has a criminal record of misdemeanors, including drug offenses, alcohol-related arrests and failure to appear.

While family members of those who died complained that the bond was too low, the S.C. Highway Patrol indicated that the amount was typical for someone charged with a felony DUI. The student's family, who came from two other states and the District of Columbia, had no comment on the bond. His attorney also made no comments.

When someone is accused of drinking and driving after a serious accident, they could face harsh consequences. A criminal defense attorney might be able to negotiate a plea agreement that combines or dismisses charges for clients, which could in turn reduce the accompanying penalties.

Source: The Times and Democrat, "College student charged with felony DUI after two motorcyclists killed in crash", Gene Zaleski, September 04, 2013

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