It is a simple fact that anyone who drinks and drives is at risk for violating DWI laws and causing harm to themselves or others. The worst case scenario occurs when a mix of alcohol and driving results in the death of an innocent bystander. However, the situation becomes even more shocking when a trusted member of the community sits behind the wheel.
Such was the case in 2009 when highly respected veteran NYPD detective Kevin C. Spellman drove drunk through the streets of the Bronx. According to the New York Times, former detective Spellman hit and killed 66 year-old Drane Nikac as she crossed the street during her morning walk in the early hours of the morning in late October, 2009. The New York Times reported that Spellman’s Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) was three times the legal limit when he hit and killed Ms. Nikac, a grandmother who had immigrated to the United States from Montenegro. Former Detective Spellman had waited at the scene to be arrested after the accident occurred. His family and friends noted that he was a good detective who had once tracked down fugitives, and that he severely regretted his actions.
Spellman was convicted in December, 2012, of second degree manslaughter for the death of Ms. Nikac. After a grueling trial, Prosecutors asked Judge Steven Barrett of the State Supreme Court of the Bronx to sentence former detective Spellman to the maximum penalty under the law, five to fifteen years in prison. This last March, Judge Barrett handed down Spellman’s sentence in a courtroom full of supporters on both sides. CBS News New York reported that Ms. Nikac’s side of the room was full of her family members, including grandchildren who pleaded with Judge Barrett to impose the maximum sentence. In contrast, a crowd of plain clothes officers came to the sentencing hearing in support of former detective Spellman.
The sentencing hearing lasted ninety minutes, during which Spellman expressed extreme remorse to Ms. Nikac’s family. Ultimately, Judge Barrett sentenced former detective Spellman to three to nine years in prison; a sentence Mr. Spellman’s attorney said was harsh, but Ms. Nikac’s family expressed was far too lenient. The New York Times further noted that former detective Spellman did not plan to appeal the sentence, and that he was thought by Judge Barrett to be embracing his punishment.
It can be shocking and disappointing when good people and trusted community members violate DUI laws, and even more upsetting when such violations result in the death of an innocent person. However, no matter what the situation, or who sits behind the wheel, drivers charged with violating DWI laws are entitled to legal representation. An experienced lawyer can explain DWI charges and can represent a driver charged with a DWI violation in Court. If you have been charged with violating DWI laws in New York, you deserve to have the support of an experienced attorney. Call Nave DWI Defense Attorneys today at (877) 435-7394 for a confidential consultation regarding your DWI charges.
Disclaimer: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 269 W. Jefferson St.; Syracuse, New York 13202; Telephone No.: (315) 473-0899. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.