As a Maryland criminal lawyer practicing in a metropolitan area, it is common to represent individuals who have been charged with a variety of criminal charges. However, in today’s high-tech internet age, it is important to remember that although it is possible to convey messages to millions of people, it can also have serious consequences. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are now being looked at by law enforcement agencies to crack down on illegal and inappropriate activities. Such is the case of Pulp Fiction screenwriter, Roger Avary, who is currently serving a year-long sentence for causing a fatal drunk driving accident.
Avary, 44, pled guilty in August 2009 of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, as well as a slew of other driving while intoxicated charges. In 2008, an intoxicated Avary lost control of his Mercedes-Benz, and slammed into a telephone pole. One of the passengers in the car, Andreas Zini, 34, was killed immediately upon impact. Zini and his new bride were vacationing for their honeymoon, and a mutual friend set up the meeting. Avary’s wife, Gretchen, was also severely injured as a result of the drunk driving accident.
Prosecuting attorney Michael Lief demanded that Judge Edward Bodie give Avary a punishment for the crime–six years and eight months in jail. However, Judge Bodie sentenced Avary to a year-long sentence in a county jail, citing his lack of criminal background and community standing. Additionally, Avary was given permission to attend a work-furlough program, allowing him to leave the jail for occupational purposes.
Regardless of the sentencing, both prosecuting and defense attorneys were shocked at this decision. Normally, people convicted of driving while intoxicated- DWI, driving under the influence- DUI, or operating while intoxicated- OWI do not receive such lenient sentences. Participation in the work-furlough program is reserved for inmates who have jobs, were not convicted of a fatal crime, and are sentenced to jail time exceeding thirty days. By definition, this should not apply to Avary.
Inmates involved in the work-furlough program live in military-style barracks, and are allowed to leave only for work, reporting back at night and on the weekends. They also do not have access to internet of any kind while in the program. Avary’s time in the work-furlough program began October 26th, and ended last week when he sent out inappropriate Twitter messages from his place of work, strictly against his probation guidelines. In those messages, Avary discussed strip searches within the jail, lockdowns, and talks with gangbusters. Once the news sources published Avary’s tweets, he was moved to a county jail, as opposed to the lower-security work program.
All parties are in shock at the lack of care taken by Avary–he could have spent nine months in a low security work program for a fatal drunk driving accident, for which he was at fault. However, due to his actions, he will now stay in county jail for the duration of his sentence.
This case reminds everyone how important it is to watch what you say on the internet, as it can be traced and read by millions of viewers worldwide. Facing criminal charges is a difficult and scary process for anyone to go through regardless of celebrity status. If convicted of criminal charges, your life could immediately change–driving privileges could be lost or you could be subjected to jail time. To prevent this from happening from you, it is important to contact a hard-working and experienced Maryland criminal attorney for representation. Kush Arora Attorney at Law’s website is available by clicking here.