California Woman Sentenced To 55 Years For DUI

DUIDriving under the influence (DUI) arrests and traffic crash statistics show that having a drink or two and then getting behind the wheel is a choice people make every single day, but you have to wonder how many people really think about the outcome of their actions when they drink and drive. At the very least, someone arrested for DUI will lose their privilege to drive, may be required to spend time in jail, have to pay hefty fines, and may have to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. The worst outcome of drinking and driving? The driver may take an innocent life, and the recent conviction of a California woman is the perfect example of that.

A former substance abuse counselor, 53-year-old Sherri Lynn Wilkins was recently sentenced to jail for 55 years to life and was convicted of second-degree murder, driving under the influence, and leaving the scene of a crash after she hit a pedestrian and continued to drive with the pedestrian trapped on the windshield of her vehicle. Police maintain she was attempting to shake the body off of her vehicle, and she was only stopped after her vehicle was surrounded and a bystander removed her keys. Although Wilkins admitted to drinking and her blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit of .08, she maintained at trial she was not intoxicated.

Although 55 years to life may seem like a severe sentence for a DUI-related crash, Wilkins had two previous convictions and was sentenced under California’s three-strikes law. The law states that if you have previous convictions, your sentence will be triple the normal sentence for the crime.

California DUI and ignition interlock laws are already strict, and it’s the hope of the victim’s family and local prosecutors that this severe sentence may cause drinking drivers to put down their keys and not get behind the wheel of their vehicles.