Texas Man Convicted in Fatal Drunk Driving Accident
A Texas man was convicted of serious criminal charges after a widely-publicized car accident that prosecutors say was caused by drunk driving. A 23-year-old man was killed in the crash.
The accident occurred in Florida in 2010. The defendant – a well-known polo player named John Goodman – was accused of driving drunk, running a stop sign and then fleeing the scene after causing a fatal accident. He faced a number of charges, including intoxicated manslaughter.
Prosecutors say Goodman left the scene of the accident on foot, and didn’t call 911 until nearly an hour later. Law enforcement determined that his blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit on the night of the accident.
In his defense, Goodman said he wasn’t drunk at the time of the accident, though he did admit to having a few drinks with friends that evening. He and his defense lawyers said the crash happened after Goodman’s Bentley malfunctioned, causing it to accelerate out of control.
Goodman suffered a severe concussion in the accident, and he said he was confused and disoriented when he walked away. Further, he said he didn’t become intoxicated until after the accident, when he drank a friend’s liquor in an attempt to alleviate his severe pain.
Goodman will be sentenced in late April and faces up to 30 years in prison.
Goodman Adopted Girlfriend to Protect Trust
The public discussion around the accident was complicated by the fact that Goodman employed a rare legal maneuver in an attempt to protect his family’s assets in the wake of the crash.
Like many wealthy individuals, Goodman had set up a trust in his children’s names years earlier. However, since the children have not yet reached the age of majority, he was concerned that their assets might be at risk in an eventual lawsuit. In an attempt to protect the trust from legal action, he adopted his 42-year-old adult girlfriend, making her his legal child.
Goodman’s attorney says he is confident the arrangement is completely legal. Still, the move has generated significant public controversy. Some critics say it created an impression that Goodman is trying to escape responsibility for his actions.
Defending Texas Drunk Driving Charges
Even though the accident occurred in Florida, it raises a lot of issues that are relevant to cases involving Texas drunk driving accidents.
First, it shows that drunk driving allegations are rarely as cut-and-dry as the prosecution makes them out to be. Seeking the help of a good DWI defense attorney who will be able to thoroughly evaluate the facts of the case and identify all possible defense strategies can help.
Further, it demonstrates the risks inherent to cases where the defendant is a high-profile individual. Often times, high-profile defendants are tried in the court of public opinion before they ever make it into a courtroom. Having an experienced attorney who will know how to cut through this bias is recommended.
These are just some of the ways a defense attorney can ensure that a defendant receives a fair trial, regardless of the allegations. If you’ve been charged with a Texas DWI crime, or any other criminal offense, talk to an experienced criminal lawyer who can help you understand your options.