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When DUI and Negligent Homicide are Charged Simultaneously in New Hampshire, No One Wins

DUI-Negligent-Homicide-300x193You are out with a friend. You drink one too many drinks. You attempt to drive home but cause a tragic accident instead. The friend dies and you get arrested. A night like this nobody wins. An evening of joy can turn bad really quick. It pays to be cautious when out having a drink and then deciding to drive home.

Loudon firefighter knows this now all too well. Just a few days ago Tyler Dempsey, 22, was out with his friend Ryan Christie and Leandra Jimmo, 21. The three had had drinks together in Concord before getting into Dempsey’s truck. Jimmo was in the backseat and, according to the Concord Monitor, told police that Dempsey was driving “so fast that her stomach dropped.”

Meanwhile, Tyler was apparently “hanging his head out of the passenger window.” Dempsey, however, lost control of the truck near Bee Hole Road. The truck rolled over and Tyler was pronounced dead at the scene while Jimmo was taken to Concord Hospital for a minor head injury.

Also, at the scene, Dempsey failed field sobriety tests and was arrested for aggravated DUI and was later charged with negligent homicide.

And now this firefighter, whose job it is to save lives, will now face trial. Juries are not sympathetic to persons charged with DUIs, especially when someone dies as a result of it. It is an uphill battle. It’s not that the trial can’t be won, though, because there are times when the person simply is not guilty of actually causing the accident even though he or she may have (or not have) been guilty of drinking under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

In this case, Jimmo stated that Dempsey had a “normal” amount of alcohol before driving. She said “he had more than one Guinness beer at TGI Fridays and at least one more drink at Tandy’s.” For a male who is 160 – 180 pounds, three to four alcoholic drinks are well within the range of illegal intoxication. Though we don’t know Dempsey’s weight, we do know that even if he is under 160 pounds, he would have well-exceeded the limit and if over 180 pounds, he would have been quite close to the legal limit.

Those three to four drinks – though part of the fun at the time – led to not only a charge of DUI but of negligent homicide, typically a class B felony unless it’s a result of a DUI, and in this case, it is the latter.

Negligent homicide is a class A felony if it is the result of a DUI in New Hampshire, and a conviction for the same can result in the following penalties:

  • up to 7 1/2 to 15 years in prison;
  • heavy fines; and
  • revocation of driver’s license for a minimum of 7 years.

So, no one wins. A friend is dead. Another friend is injured and traumatized. And one friend – the driver – could lose his freedom for a significant amount of time.

At Tenn And Tenn, PA, we know how difficult these kinds of accidents are. No one meant to harm anyone, and everyone is suffering because of it. Whether you have been charged with a DUI or are the victim of a DUI, contact our office to learn how we can help you and your unique circumstances.

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