The highly publicized DUI manslaughter case of Riverview dentist Matthew Moye has finally ended in a plea bargain. Moye has pleaded guilty in exchange for being given a relatively light prison sentence of 12 years, together with 10 years probation, compulsory DUI school and a $2,000 fine. Similar sentences in Hillsborough County have seen considerably longer jail terms of 20 years or more given out for DUI manslaughter cases in the past. The 12 years jail sentence, which could see Moye released in 10.5 years with good behavior, is still within standard DUI manslaughter guidelines for sentencing.
The case has taken 3 years to be finally decided in court, just a few weeks before a trial was to determine his fate. The families of the two young people who were killed on the Harbor Island Bridge at Halloween in October 2010 were in court and were quite emotional as the sentence was read out.
The deaths took place as Moye’s car swerved out of control on the bridge, hitting Kate Collier and Douglas Kosar as they were walking across the road back to their car after work at the nearby Marriott Waterside Hotel. Moye’s vehicle was estimated to be traveling at around 89 mph at the time of the impact. He was being accompanied by his wife and another person in the Cadillac on the way from one Halloween party to another in the early hours of the morning.
On being questioned by police after the accident, Moye apparently said that he was the designated driver for the night. He refused to take a sobriety test but took a blood alcohol test later. The test results returned a blood alcohol content of 0.136%, just over 50% higher than the state legal limit of 0.08%.
Collier and Kosar’s families have been upset about the time it has taken for the case to be resolved, as well as the attitude that the dentist has taken since the original charge. He has been out on bail of $119,000 since the charge was made and has been able to continue his dental practice in Riverview, Big Bend Dental. His lawyer had apparently urged Moye not to show up in court, as he had been subject to some quite “disturbing” threats. However, he did in fact show up and pleaded guilty to each of the charges against him.
The families of the two young victims made emotional statements about the impact of the deaths at the court hearing. One of the aspects of the case which has made it so contentious is the fact that the dentist refused to acknowledge any blame for the deaths and has not yet offered an apology to the families. At the court hearing, he was reported to have stared unemotionally at each of the family members who spoke and again refused to make a statement or an apology after the sentence was handed down.
Plea bargains are one of the options which are available to those who have been arrested for DUI in Florida. DUI is a serious charge, especially when someone has been seriously injured or killed as a result of being allegedly under the influence of alcohol or controlled drugs. When the arrest has become highly publicized it is even more important that you choose a proficient and skillful DUI attorney to represent you.
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