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Former Bishop Must Serve Full Sentence for DUI Manslaughter

Former Episcopal bishop Heather Cook, who is serving a seven-year sentence after killing a bicyclist in a drunk driving accident in December 2014, was denied parole in a recent hearing. The ruling means she could have to serve the full term of her sentence.

The 60-year-old defrocked bishop pled guilty to charges of driving while intoxicated (DWI), leaving the scene of an accident, texting while driving and vehicular manslaughter in 2015. She had been eligible for parole after serving 25 percent of her sentence, which would have meant a possible release as soon as July. That’s because vehicular manslaughter is considered a nonviolent offense in Maryland.

However, the parole commission cited Cook’s leaving the scene of the accident, lack of remorse and history of impaired driving as the three major factors in its decision to deny her parole. She was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and possession of marijuana in 2010, as well, before becoming Maryland’s first female bishop in May 2014.

Now, Cook will be in jail until at least 2019, when she will be eligible for potential release upon good behavior.

What are the DUI penalties in Maryland?

Law enforcement authorities continue to crack down on DUI throughout Maryland. A first offense in the state may result in fines of up to $500 and a possible six-month license suspension, along with up to two months in jail. Second and subsequent offense come with greater criminal penalties for those convicted.

To learn more about your rights if you’ve been accused of drunk driving, speak with an experienced La Plata DUI defense lawyer at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A.

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