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Woman uses plea bargain and good behavior to get out early

A woman in Tennessee was involved in a DUI crash in 2002. Now, 15 years later, the Tennessee Department of Corrections has said that she's been released from prison.

While that seems like a long time, it could have been far longer, if not for a few things that she did to reduce the sentence. First of all, she was offered a plea bargain back in 2003, and she took it. That meant she had to go to jail, but the sentence she was offered was for 22 years.

Then, after she was behind bars, she worked to earn credits toward an early release. These credits took time off of the sentence even as she served it, and she earned multiple credits. That slashed seven years off of it -- nearly a third of the entire sentence -- so that she could get out after 15 years.

She also remained dedicated to trying to get out as soon as she could, even though she asked for parole numerous times and was denied.

All cases are different, but this woman's story helps to show that there is often some flexibility when it comes to sentencing. It may be a plea bargain that provides a shorter initial sentence, parole that allows a person to get out early or the credits that can be earned toward an early release.

It's important for those who have been accused of drunk driving, even when they've also been involved in serious accidents, to understand all of the various legal options that they have, along with their own rights under state law.

Source: WREG, "Woman who killed two middle schoolers in DUI crash now out of prison," Kelsey Ott and Luke Jones, accessed June 30, 2017

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