A DUI charge, officially known as OVI in Ohio, is always a serious matter, but when driving drunk causes the death of another person, the offense takes on another level of gravity. This was the case with Matthew Cordle of Ohio, whose sentencing was completed at the end of October this year.
After a night of heavy drinking on June 22, 2013, Cordle collided with another vehicle while traveling the wrong way on Interstate 670 and killed the driver of the other vehicle, Vincent Canzani. The case gained national attention when Cordle posted a video of himself confessing his crimes, which has received over 2 million views since then. In the video, Cordle described how he had been drinking at multiple bars before getting behind the wheel. At the end of his confession, he urged viewers not to drink and drive.
Cordle was sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison for charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol, which, in his case, carried a potential maximum of 8½ years in prison. His driving privileges were also revoked for the rest of his life. Cordle had entered a guilty plea for the case, expediting his trial process to a matter of weeks.
Aggravated vehicular homicide consists of crimes in which the death of a person was caused by the offender’s reckless behavior while driving or if the offender was intoxicated while driving. It is also important to note that the death of an unborn child is also considered a separate act of homicide.
Ohio Rev. Code §2903.06 outlines the specific penalties faced by an offender accused of aggravated vehicular homicide. The potential consequences vary greatly depending on factors such as an offender’s prior traffic offense history, and if the driver’s privileges were suspended at the time.
For a first-time offender, they face a third degree felony with consequences of 1-5 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and a driver’s license suspensions from 3 years to life. Jail time can go all the way up to 15 years in prison for an offender with multiple prior offenses.
A charge of vehicular homicide is a serious offense, and should not be taken lightly. Those facing this offense should seek out the help of an experienced DUI lawyer in order to protect their futures.