Todd Harrell, base player for 3 Doors Down, was reportedly arrested late Tuesday for suspicion of driving under the influence. This recent arrest occurred in Mississippi, where he was previously convicted of DUI in 2012. He had appealed the 2012 conviction, but the appellate court had upheld the decision. More importantly, Harrell is also currently facing several serious charges for driving impaired in an accident resulting in another driver’s death in April 2013. That traffic collision landed Harrell in jail for several days, in Tennessee. The Judge released him on $100,000 bail, pending the outcome of that case. In California, the bail for a felony DUI, even without a great bodily injury, is usually $100,000.
Harrell now faces a second offense DUI. In his first offense he was involved in a traffic collision where he rear ended a pick-up truck. After consenting to a blood draw, he reportedly told police officers he had five different prescription pills in his system. In this current arrest, it appears that the report suggests Harrell was under the influence of a substance other than alcohol. In California, if this case goes to trial, the prosecutor must go through the prior conviction, and Harrell is entitled to “bifurcate” the trial. This means that the jury cannot find out about his prior conviction during trial, and should not hold it against him. Also, his attorney must make sure the jury does not know about his pending case in Tennessee. A fair juror must decide whether someone is guilty based on Harrell’s actions in this case only, they should not be influenced by information that can cause a bias against Harrell. It is unfortunate that sometimes people don’t learn from their mistakes, but everyone is entitled to a fair trial.
These current charges are very serious, but the charges in Tennessee against him are obviously much more serious. In California, Felony DUI where someone is killed can be charged as a “Watson” murder. This offense can carry a sentence of life in prison. When someone is convicted of a misdemeanor or felony DUI, they are given an advisement that if they are involved in a traffic collision where they’re under the influence and someone is killed they can be charged with second degree murder. Even though this incident didn’t involve a traffic collision, it seems Harrell needs to be proactive in seeking help for any substance abuse issues he may have. Not just to benefit his case, but to improve his well being.