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An Ohio court has sentenced 22-year-old Matthew Cordle, famous for confessing to killing a 61-year-old-man in a drunk driving accident via a video he posted online, to 6 ½ years in state prison. Per Ohio state law, his driving privileges were revoked for life.

Cordle, who is a first-time DUI offender and was at  0.19 BAC at the time of the accident, made headlines in September when he posted a produced, online video. Posted against the advice of his attorneys, in the video Cordle confessed to having a long-term drinking problem, driving drunk, and killing Vincent Canzani, a grandfather from suburban Columbus, Ohio. Cordle used the video, which quickly went viral, to launch a new campaign, #saveyourvictims, in what he said is an effort to bring renewed awareness to drunk driving by sharing his story.

The case has generated a great deal of commentary in the months since the video was released. Some believe his confession was sincere, a refreshing perspective on a legal system filled with loopholes that often allow drunk drivers “off” or reduce their sentences. Others claim Cordle used the video to garner favor with the court in an effort to reduce his punishment. He faced a maximum of 8 ½ years in prison.

Cordle’s case can serve to highlight a few key points about drinking and driving. First, despite being a first-time offender, Cordle’s admission to a long-term drinking problem means it was most certainly not his first time driving drunk. A number of studies over the years have shown people drive drunk as many as 300 times before getting caught.

This case also illustrates that while repeat drunk drivers occupy a disproportionate space in the criminal justice system, first-time offenders still make up the majority of DUI arrests and alcohol-related fatalities each and every year.

Cordle made a statement at the sentencing hearing, which read in part, “The punishment is simply living.” What do you think about this case and the controversy surrounding his viral confession? Are the criticisms fair?

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up: A blog about drunk driving, alcohol addiction, and criminal justice, is anything but a corporate blog. Sobering Up is an opportunity for anyone interested or involved in the issues of drunk driving, alcohol-fueled crime, alcohol dependence and addiction, and the justice system to participate in the conversation.

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