A Pennsylvania father has been charged with a DUI after his SUV drifted backward and ran over his daughter as he was getting out the car to take photos of her on her first date.
While Richard Benton, 53, wasn't driving at the time of the accident, police report that he was visibly intoxicated when they arrived at the scene, reports CBS News.
In addition to the emotional gravity, his daughter's death may affect the severity of Benton's DUI charge.
Benton's DUI Charge
Under Pennsylvania's DUI laws, it's illegal for an individual to drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle while intoxicated. In Benson's case, he was likely in physical control of the movement of the SUV at the time of the accident because he was apparently getting out of the car when it started drifting backwards.
DUIs that result in serious bodily injury or death can be treated as ungraded misdemeanors in Pennsylvania for first time offenders. This means that if convicted, Benton might not spend more than a year in jail. Since Benton's daughter was killed in this accident, her death will likely have an impact on his case and potential sentence. However, according to CBS News, police are investigating whether the brakes on his SUV went out and caused the car to roll. If the brakes failed, Benton can argue against being the cause of his daughter's death.
Tips For Parents
Parents should realize that their bad behavior can affect their kids, so here are three DUI safety tips for parents:
- Studies show that teens get their driving habits from their parents, so parents should never get behind the wheel after they've been drinking -- even if it's just one drink. This is especially important if your kids are in the car.
- If your child gets arrested for a DUI, make sure you're sober when you pick him or her up. It may your first instinct to go bail your kid out, but showing up drunk will indicate to your child that under some circumstances, it's okay to drive drunk.
- Make sure your kids understand zero tolerance laws. Drivers under 21 who drive with any amount of alcohol in their system will be arrested for a DUI.
If you have further questions about DUI and its application to children, contact an experienced DUI attorney in the Philadelphia area for more help.
- Pa. dad charged in daughter's first-date death (Associated Press)
- Teen DUI Suspect Rams Vegas Restaurant; 10 Hurt (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Is Teen's 'Affluenza' DWI Sentence Too Lenient? (FindLaw's Blotter)
- 'Teen Mom' Farrah Abraham's DUI Plea Deal: No Drinking for 6 Mos. (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)