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Man charged with DWI says he is sick, needs help

A 55-year-old man who crashed his vehicle into a Dunkin' Donuts in Jersey City in August was formally charged with drunk driving earlier this week. The man, who requires an interpreter to communicate with court officials, admitted that he was suffering from an out-of-control addiction, telling authorities that he was very sick.

He was charged with two counts of third-degree aggravated assault by vehicle, along with several counts of fourth-degree assault and other charges. Eight people were injured in the crash, including a teenage girl who suffered broken bones and cuts to her face.

The man has been in jail since the crash. His bail is set at $35,000, though he hopes to get it lowered. Authorities report that the man has accrued two other DWI convictions in New York, and he admitted in court that he is an alcoholic.

In this case, the man may consider pleading guilty, largely because of the massive amount of evidence stacked against him. Instead of facing significant prison time, the man's attorneys may be able to convince the court to pursue rehabilitative options instead. According to a news report, the man told a local judge that he passed out and lost control. He said, "I'm sick, I'm sick. I need help."

A guilty plea could allow the man to receive reduced charges, or some of the charges could be dropped altogether. In addition, the man could benefit from the reduced sentencing guidelines that traditionally accompany a guilty plea. A status conference is reportedly scheduled for next month.

Source: The Jersey Journal, "Jersey City man in Dunkin' Donuts crash that injured 8 is arraigned," Daniel Reyes, Jan. 14, 2013

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