Sentence Altered In Motor Vehicle Homicide

Sentence for man convicted of motor vehicle homicide altered. Nebraska Appeals Court ruling is detailed in documents obtained by Channel Six News.

Jason A. Laware pled guilty to motor vehicle homicide and driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury. Laware was sentenced to 15 to 20 years’ imprisonment on the motor vehicle homicide conviction and 5 to 5 years’ imprisonment on the driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury conviction.

The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively, and Laware was given credit for 370 days served. The State has appealed Laware’s sentences as excessively lenient, arguing that Laware was erroneously given credit for time served for time that he spent in the hospital receiving treatment for his injuries.

On August 11, 2010, at approximately 8:30 a.m., Laware was driving a vehicle while intoxicated. His vehicle jumped a median, striking a car driven by Dr. Adam Smith head on. As a result of the injuries sustained in the accident, Dr. Smith died. Dr. Smith’s two children, who were in the back seat of the car, sustained serious injuries.

Laware also sustained serious injuries and was hospitalized.
On September 9, 2011, an arrest warrant was issued for Laware, and the arrest warrant was served on September 30. Laware was charged with one count of motor vehicle homicide and two counts of driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury. After his arrest on September 30, Laware remained incarcerated, as he was unable to post bail.

In June 2011, Laware pled guilty to an amended information charging him with motor vehicle homicide, a Class III felony, and driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury, a Class IIIA felony. At the sentencing hearing held on August 15, the district court sentenced Laware to 15 to 20 years’ imprisonment for the motor vehicle homicide conviction and 5 to 5 years’ imprisonment on the driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury conviction.

The sentences were ordered to run consecutively, Laware’s motor vehicle operating privileges were revoked for 15 years, and Laware was given credit for 370 days served. Laware’s credit for time served included time Laware spent in the hospital recovering from the injuries that he sustained in the accident. The court stated that the court believed that Laware was “technically” in custody prior to his arrest on September 30, 2010.

The State contends that the district court imposed excessively lenient sentences by granting Laware credit for time served in excess of what he actually earned while incarcerated awaiting disposition.

The investigation report reflects that Laware was arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant on September 30, 2010, and that he remained incarcerated up until his sentencing because he was unable to post bail. Prior to his arrest, Laware was hospitalized, recovering from injuries sustained in the crash and participating in walking rehabilitation. We agree with the State that the time Laware spent in the hospital prior to his arrest was not spent “in custody” and should not have been counted for the purposes of determining his credit for time served.

In sum, we find that Laware was erroneously given credit for periods of time when he was not “in custody” in the calculation of his credit for time served. Therefore, we affirm Laware’s sentences but modify the number of days of credit for time served to 319 days, which is the amount of time that Laware spent in custody after his arrest until his sentencing.


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