Blog readers may remember a previous report by The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis about the guilty plea of 48-year-old John Leck to charges of third-degree murder, homicide by motor vehicle while driving intoxicated, and driving under the influence. Leck faced these criminal charges as a result of the July 2012 drunk driving accident that claimed the life of Philadelphia police officer Brian Lorenzo.
Leck left a TGI Friday’s restaurant on the night of July 8, 2012, after drinking for several hours and got into his Audi sedan. He then proceeded to drive south on I-95 in a northbound left lane, when he crashed head-on into Lorenzo, who was riding his motorcycle home after completing a late shift. Following the accident, Leck’s blood alcohol content measured at almost three times the legal limit.
According to the The Philadelphia Inquirer, Leck appeared before the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court on Dec. 2 for his sentencing hearing. Leck had no prior criminal record and 10 character witnesses, including relatives and friends, lined up to testify in favor of his kind and considerate character and the fact that they had never known him to drink to excess. Lorenzo’s widow delivered a victim-impact statement to a standing-room-only crowd of about 100 people about the impact on her family’s life due to the loss of her husband and high school sweetheart.
Judge M. Teresa Sarmina sentenced Leck to a prison term of 10-20 years, to be followed by 10 years of reporting to probation on a regular basis. The sentence was within Pennsylvania state sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Leck to 15-30 years in prison.
As this case goes to show, Pennsylvania DUI laws can be very harsh, particularly when a DUI has resulted in the death of another person. Although Leck had no prior criminal record and pleaded guilty to the charges, the law still provided for a lengthy prison term, followed by another lengthy term of probation.
Of course, the penalty for a DUI charge depends on a person’s criminal history, the nature of the offenses, and the circumstances surrounding the incident. Clearly, some DUI offenses are more serious than others. However, the penalties for DUI and DUI-related offenses, on the whole, are quite severe in the state of Pennsylvania, as they are in most states. As a result, it is essential that anyone accused of DUI or a crime involving DUI take immediate steps to consult with an experienced Pennsylvania DUI attorney in order to begin building a strong defense to the charges.
At The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis, you will find knowledgeable, skilled DUI defense lawyers who are ready to meet with you immediately about your case. Do not hesitate to contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. We understand how difficult DUI and DUI-related charges can be, and we stand ready to start building your defense to these charges today.