George, Mark, and three other friends have planned to go out drinking for the evening at several nightclubs about 45 miles from Centervale. George has offered to drive the group in his Pontiac Bonneville. Although there are not enough seatbelts for everyone, the group piles into the vehicle and ventures out for a night of fun on the town. Several hours later, after visiting three bars, Mark drives the group to the next bar because George has had too much to drink. Unfortunately, Mark has also had too much to drink, which causes him to lose control and crash the vehicle.
When emergency services arrive on the scene, Mark is not seriously injured and is able to give details of what he believes happened to have caused the crash. George is seriously injured and is life-flighted to a trauma center along with another friend, one friend is deceased, but still seat belted in the car, and one friend who was thrown from the vehicle, sustained moderate injuries.
Highway Patrolman Green suspects’ alcohol might have played a role in the crash and asks Mark to perform a series of field sobriety tests. Mark fails the tests, and is arrested and charged with DWI. Mark awaits his Initial Appearance in court, while the Highway Patrol Reconstruction Team reconstructs the crash, calculates the approximate speed of the vehicle, and determines other pertinent facts.
The Highway Patrol Officers review the case with the District Attorney before Mark’s initial appearance. It is agreed that Mark can be charged with reckless driving, speeding, four counts of felony assault, and one count of involuntary manslaughter. Mark’s toxicology tests revealed a blood alcohol level of .21 and further evidence shows he was driving at 75 miles per hour at the time of the crash.
The Judge formally reads the charges, advises Mark of his rights, and appoints him an attorney during his initial court appearances. Mark posts bail while he awaits his arraignment. You are working with a Criminal Justice university course. The professor has asked you to create a case study on this case that will provide her students with a real world situation that demonstrates the basics of the class. Your case study must:
Identify, define, examine, and discuss the crimes committed in the above scenario.
Demonstrate your knowledge of the criminal justice process that occurred in this scenario. Evaluate the beginning and end of the involvement of the criminal justice system in this scenario. Research your state’s view on deaths related to DUI offenses and the potential that this crime could be classified as murder. Relate each involvement to the Court system or Criminal Justice System as a whole.
Propose a possible “next step” for Mark and the case. Compare and contrast his possible options. What systems of the Criminal Justice System will be accessed with each option? Consider Mark’s rights as a defendant in this scenario from postarrest through awaiting trial.
Examine the rights of the victims as they related to the criminal justice process.
If these crimes were committed in a state that has a Grand Jury system, discuss where in the series of steps the Grand Jury would hear evidence in this case.