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Pledge to advocate good after tragedy

Perhaps the most sobering thing a person could ever hear is that his or her drunken activities contributed to the death or critical injury of another person. The charged offender faces the possibility of having all freedom taken away for a very long time. The only thing worse than that reality is the extreme and oppressive guilt. Alcohol is a double-edged sword. People warn you to be smart about drinking and if you have had too much, make arrangements for getting home. But the reality is, once you have a few drinks, the desire to drink increases and decision-making abilities become impaired. You certainly aren't a killer, you in no way intended to hurt anyone.

That may not be a far cry from reality for the young man who was just handed a 30-year sentence after a guilty plea for charges relating to drunk driving and vehicular homicide. He critically injured one man and took the life of a popular Florida chef and for that, he will pay with his freedom.

Sometimes what a jury needs to hear is your story. Not the story of that night's events. They want to hear about what makes you a human being, what good you do, what potential you have and what remorse you feel. One drunk driving accident can forever change lives but a jury may want a glimmer of good to come from it. Seeing you punished isn't a win, it is the tragedy claiming another life. Would the family want to see a life lost behind bars for punishment? They may think so. But what if they could see that their loved one's memory would forever be carried in a stranger who, because of them, will strive to be better and advocate against drunk driving?

Personal guilt is a sentence you will never be free from but with the help of a Tampa criminal defense attorney, there may be ways to explore options around sentencing. Perhaps by telling your story to a jury and putting a glimmer of hope into a tragedy, there may be a way to change the outcome of your life and your case.

Source: WFTV.com, "Florida drunken driver gets 30  years for killing popular chef," April 26, 2016

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