Greensboro, NC -- The story of Carl Wheeler and Darren Jones is enough to make the average person question how a drunk driver can take so much and go to serve so little.
The reason is centered on the North Carolina structured sentencing guidelines that determine the minimum and maximum sentences criminals can serve for every crime.
Those guidelines do allow for drunk drivers who kill someone to be charged with manslaughter, even murder.
But defense attorney Joel Oakley explained it's not easy to prove the crime rises to that level to put the drunk driver away for decades.
The x-factor is malice. If a prosecutor can prove the drunk driver had a disregard for human life when they got behind the wheel, that could result in a murder conviction.
Oakley said the problem is that's hard to prove. Just because a person drives under the influence does not mean in terms of the law that person is not aware of the value of life.
To hear a deeper explanation, watch Oakley's interview from WFMY News2 at 11.