The man who is responsible for taking the life of 21-year-old Army veteran Michael Jovanie Millan Perez was sentenced on August 2ndto 12 years in prison [Source: The Ledger]. Nick Nicholas, 35, was charged with DUI manslaughter back in 2015 after he left his 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe parked in a traffic lane on I-4 in Lakeland at 4:00 a.m. Perez, who had been headed to work in his 2001 Honda Civic, slammed into the vehicle around 4:40 a.m. A witness who had stopped to render aid told police they had seen Nicholas in the driver’s seat moments after the crash.
When police tested Nicholas’ blood-alcohol content level, they found that it was .171, or more than twice the legal limit, according to the news outlet. Sadly, Perez, who had just returned from an Army tour in Afghanistan two months prior, did not survive the crash. Nicholas, who is a father of five, told police that he was on his way to the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa.
After being criminally charged for Peres’s death, Nicholas eventually pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter in May “without a plea agreement,” and was facing 15 years in prison. However, the source highlighted that the “state sentencing guidelines called for him to receive 10 years.” It wasn’t until this month that Nicholas’ hearing took place and that is where Sylvia Perez, the mother of the deceased Michael Jovanie Millan Perez, spoke on behalf of her son who is no longer here to speak for himself. She said, “Because of Mr. Nicholas’ actions on Feb. 25, I’m standing before you asking that you give the maximum sentence possible for him. I was given a sentence for life.”
Nicholas also addressed the family just before the sentencing, apologizing for his actions. While choking back his tears he said, “I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I would never want to hurt anyone, honest to God. Please have mercy, please. Forgive me for what I’ve done.”
Circuit Judge William Sites ended up sentencing Nicholas to 12 years, as mentioned above, although his Lakeland criminal defense attorney asked that his client “remain free on bond while they appeal earlier rulings in the case.” Nicholas’ attorney plans to challenge the “ruling to allow the blood-alcohol evidence in the case.” His lawyer believes that his client’s civil rights were violated when police took Nicholas’ blood sample. Sites ended up granting bail pending appeal at $100,000.
After the judge ruled on the case, Perez’s mother fell back after losing consciousness when she heard the sentencing verdict.
The fact is, there are no words or amount of money that can compensate for when a loved one is killed in a drunk driving accident. There is, however, justice, and that is what most of the victims of these types of accidents often seek. Unfortunately, the only way to obtain the justice you deserve for losing someone you love is with the help of a Lakeland, FL drunk driving attorney.
As you can see from this case, each party involved has rights and are given the opportunity to exercise those rights when held accountable for a crime such as DUI manslaughter. So, if you recently lost someone and you want help in exercising your rights and seeing to it that justice is served, contact USAttorneys.com today. We can connect you with some of the most helpful and knowledgeable DUI accident attorneys in the Lakeland, FL area.