Lack of evidence and witnesses leads to a one-year term for driver in hit-and-run death

He faced up to 30-years for leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident that killed a 23-year-old woman, but Michael Levi Beauregard was sentenced last week to just one year in jail. Beauregard will also be on probation in Jacksonville for five years for the May 2011 accident that killed a woman who was riding a motorized wheelchair on the side of a road, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. This Jacksonville vehicular homicide case was problematic from the start because there was no physical evidence and there were no eyewitnesses who could testify on court. Moon’s fiancĂ© was at the scene, but was unable to identify the driver. Beauregard is accused of speeding and hitting the woman, stopping briefly, then panicking and taking off, essentially leaving her to die. He admitted to the accident and said he did not see her in the road.

Part of the plea deal required Beauregard to pay $3,700 for the woman’s funeral expenses and $2,000 for the wheelchair. The woman was not disabled, but had taken her finance’s father’s motorized chair to go pick up a pizza, the newspaper reported. The case is a prime example of the elements needed to prove a case in a trial, and how those may not always be there – regardless of what everyone thinks and assumes happened. Beauregard made a serious mistake and was willing to take responsibility and do some time as punishment. And it likely wasn’t worth the risk of 30 years in prison if he was convicted at trial of vehicular homicide. But the state could not take the case to trial, and it obviously knew that. There was no one to put on the stand and say Beauregard was driving, no way to prove that he was even the one driving the truck. The cases that often seem the easiest to just rule with a “guilty” verdict aren’t always like that.

An experienced Jacksonville Traffic Attorney knows what to look for to see if the state has what it needs to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, gives cases a comprehensive analysis and will then meet with you or your loved one to advise you or your best options going forward. Sometimes, that’s a trial. In other cases, like this one, it can be best to take advantage of the state’s weak case, get the best deal possible and move on.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Jacksonville Criminal Attorney is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.