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North Carolina Doctor's Life in Ruins After Fatal DWI Crash

This week, a trial begins that will determine the fate of a North Carolina doctor who was accused of causing a crash that killed a young woman last year. Police officers and prosecutors have alleged that the 43-year-old man was driving drunk and speeding when he crashed into another car.

Prosecutors have decided to try to make an example of the man. He was charged with driving while impaired, reckless driving with wanton disregard, death by vehicle and second-degree murder. If he is convicted, these charges will carry serious penalties.

The doctor has already suffered the consequences of these charges, having lost his license to practice medicine. The crash happened in September 2009, and the doctor has spent the last year in an alcohol-abuse treatment center in a different state.

As court proceedings begin, the first step will be to select a jury. Prosecutors and the doctor's attorney will need to reach agreement about jurors who will determine the man's fate.

The question does not seem to be whether or not the doctor was drinking before he drove. But the prosecutors have alleged that he did so with the intention of causing serious injury or killing another person. The second-degree murder charge requires malice.

The jury will be tasked with deciding whether or not to believe that this doctor was malicious or simply wrong-thinking in his decision to drive after having too much to drink. In situations like this, the prosecution will work hard to punish the doctor as an example to other drivers. The doctor will need to present a strong defense to protect his rights.

Source:, "Doctor stands trial in DWI death," Anne Blythe, 1 Nov 2010

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