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Alaska drunk drivers who kill can face jail time, civil suits

For drunk drivers in Alaska who are the cause of fatal accidents, penalties abound. Not only are they in violation of state criminal laws regarding driving under the influence, usually ending in jail time, but they may also face civil lawsuits as well. This ability to legally require them to pay for their bad choices serves to protect both the community in which the drunk drivers reside, as well as their victims' families.

The time in prison that a drunk driver may face varies, depending upon a nimber of factors. Recently, in Anchorage, a driver who killed two teenagers in Aug. 2013, was sent to prison to serve a 32 year term on dual counts of second-degree murder. The man will only be eligible for parole after he has served 20 years.

The steepness of this sentence shows how serious Alaska is concerning the punishment of those who choose to drink and drive. Although many drunk drivers show remorse at their trials, as did the one in the Anchorage case, the law must be upheld despite the guilty party's apparent repentance. The laws also protect victims' families who want to pursue legal channels to seek restitution through a civil court lawsuit.

The selfish and thoughtless actions of drunk drivers can leave them paying a high price. Not only are they likely to spend time behind bars, but they may be ordered to pay restitution through the civil courts to a victim's loved ones. There is no amount of money that can bring back the person(s) killed, but for many family members, being compensated for the tragedy can enable them to start healing and move forward.

Source:, "Drunken driver gets 32 years for deaths of 15-year-olds", Feb. 7, 2015

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