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Lawyer: DUI Suspect Could Face 'SignificantTime'

7:15 PM, Dec 5, 2012   |    comments
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Thomas Stafford

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A Columbia DUI attorney says the man charged with felony DUI after hitting and killing an on duty DOT worker could face a long sentence.

"I routinely see judges give people 10 to 25 years on felony DUI when there is a history of alcohol involved and a high alcohol content in a particular case," said Pete Strom of the Strom Law Firm.  "Oh yeah.  The judges do not mind stickin' it to them and sending a message."

Strom says a 25 year sentence is possible in the case against the 39 year old driver Thomas Stafford.

Police believe Stafford was impaired when he hit the DOT worker Monday on I-20.  Police also say Stafford fled the scene of the accident.

"Sometimes you see something that's situational," said Strom.  "Sometimes it's someone who very rarely drinks and he goes to some christmas party and he has too much."

A records check done by wltx.com though shows Stafford was convicted of a DUI from 2008 and arrested again for a DUI in November.

In fact, the wreck that killed the DOT worker happened just 16 days after Stafford's November arrest.

"The courts look at that. They want to know 'what's the story on this guy?  Is there a history here?'  You want to bring in his family," said Strom.  "This guy is presumed innocent, but if he's convicted with a high alcohol content, he's going to be facing a significant amount of time."

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