The trial began recently for a young woman who died in a hit and run accident. On May 27th, 2011, Courtney Griffin was walking on the streets of Austin late at night after going to some bars with friends. Unfortunately, the 30 year old nanny and vet technician never made it home.
Hours after the car accident, Austin Police questioned legislative aide Gabrielle Nestande about the event at her Capitol office. Nestande’s attorney wondered if she was read her Miranda rights or allowed to have a lawyer present after requesting one. There was also a concern that the police did not secure a warrant before taking Nestande into custody.
At first, Nestande was charged with felony failure to stop and render aid, which can carry a sentence of up to ten years in prison. In a surprise move, the prosecution indicted her of two charges in October, two second degree felony charges of manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter, which each individually can mean up to twenty years in prison.
Yet, the case itself will present difficulties for either side. Hit and run accidents are hard to reconstruct. If the street was dark that night, Nestande can claim that she didn’t realize that she hit a person while driving home. Another issue is that Nestande was arrested many hours after the accident occurred. This eliminates the possibility of using blood testing to determine if she was driving while intoxicated. Her bar bills and other eyewitness accounts of her drinking that night will be used to determine if she was drunk or not.
Cases that are complicated require an experienced legal professional who can motion to have evidence stricken from the record. If you have been charged with any crime, contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in San Antonio who has worked previously as a prosecutor and knows their tactics.