Driving While Intoxicated: The Tragic Choice of a Texas Man
In 1998, Mr. Ricky Carter was driving while intoxicated and ended the lives of four young girls in a tragic and unnecessary accident. Mr. Carter’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was .16, over twice the legal limit in Texas.
A jury found him guilty and the court sentenced him to a prison term of twenty years. The Prosecuting Attorney told mothers of the dead girls that Carter would be out in five years. Five years have almost passed and Ricky Carter will soon be up for parole.
A recent article in the Dallas Morning News, August 19, 2005, by Dave Michaels, highlights the actions of the victim’s family and friends and their efforts to keep Rick Carter in jail. The foundation for this movement is the web site, and focus of this article, www.keeprickycarterinjail.com.
The families of the slain girls have initiated the web site as a way to make lawmakers and parole boards more aware of public opinion when it comes to people who ignore the drunk driving message and decide that driving while intoxicated is okay.
Because of the growing problem of driving while intoxicated in the United States, courts are beginning to put more emphasis on the consequences of this criminal behavior. One area under review is the penalties for drinking and driving, specifically when these conditions result in the loss of life. Sentences handed down from the courts include heavy fines and severe jail terms. Repeated offenders can received up to twenty years in prison.
Texas, along with other states, has enacted zero tolerance laws for minors. There is no legal limit for underage drinkers and the penalties are severe.