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Man gets 18 months for OWI accident that ignited townhouse blaze

A Wisconsin man has entered a guilty plea in connection with a drunk driving incident in October, during which he allegedly struck a townhouse in Hainesville. The fire that resulted from that incident left three families without homes. The 32-year-old man's blood alcohol content was more than five times the legal drinking limit, measuring at 0.432 percent. The legal limit for driving in the state of Wisconsin is 0.08 percent. The driver received an 18-month prison sentence in connection with the OWI accident.

News reports show that the man could have faced a six-year prison term, but his legal team was able to negotiate a shorter sentence in connection with a plea deal. The man had been facing aggravated DUI charges. Normally, those allegations only carry a possible three-year term, but the man has a significant criminal record, so the punishment could have been doubled. The plea deal reduced the sentence to just 18 months, a significant difference from the maximum possible term.

Authorities report that the October accident occurred when the man drove his SUV across the center line on Hainesville Road. The vehicle ran over a curb and then traveled 500 feet before smashing into a townhouse alongside the road. The collision caused a gas meter to explode, which led to a devastating fire that totally destroyed two units and caused serious damage in a third. Luckily, no one was harmed in that fire, but the families were displaced from their homes because of the incident.

The defendant's legal team in this case was able to achieve a shorter prison term through plea negotiation. A guilty plea can be a useful tool in some criminal defense cases. A Wisconsin criminal attorney may be able to provide advice for those defendants who are considering entering a guilty plea.

Source: The Daily Herald, "Wisconsin man pleads guilty to DUI in Hainesville crash" Lee Filas, Feb. 05, 2014

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