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Sentence In Fatal DUI Accident Is Reminder of Alternative Sentencing Options

A Texas man who was drunk when he crashed his car into a parked car, killing a 34-year-old woman, was recently sentenced to 120 days in jail.

Travis Elwell, 25, admitted he was drunk when he crashed his BMW into a parked car in February 2015, knocking Emily Javadi into a light pole. Javadi, who was loading items into the back seat of her car at the time it was struck, was rushed to a hospital, but died from her injuries that same day.

Police reported that Elwell had a blood alcohol content level of 0.175, more than two times the legal limit, and was speeding when the accident occurred. He was charged with intoxication manslaughter.

In addition to the jail sentence, Elwell was given 10 years probation, during which he cannot consume alcohol. He also must spend a week in jail every year on the anniversary of Javadi's death.

Sentence Receives National Coverage

News of Elwell's sentence received national news coverage. Many people may view it as a lenient penalty for someone who caused the death of a young woman. However, alternative sentencing for DUI convictions - even those involving death - are common.

Elwell's week in jail each year on the anniversary of the accident is a unique twist to the otherwise common practice of negotiating reduced sentences for all types of DUI charges.

In this case, the sentence appears to have been influenced greatly by the Javadi's parents, who told prosecutors and the court they were not interested in sending Elwell to prison for a lengthy period. "We're not going back to look at the negative, she was not a negative person," Javadi's mother, Karen, told reporters. "I wanted [Elwell] to know that he owes us, to improve the condition of this world, because he is occupying a space that should be Emily's."

For Best Results, Consult With An Attorney

Alternative sentencing in DUI cases occurs in courts around the country, including in Illinois. If you face a drunk driving charge, it is important to work with a knowledgeable and experienced DUI lawyer who understands the flexibility prosecutors have, and who is familiar with the treatment programs and other alternative sentencing options that exist.

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