BANGOR, Maine — The Hudson man whose fiancee died early New Year’s Day when he drove his Jeep while drunk into a tree was sentenced Thursday at the Penobscot Judicial Center to 12 years in prison with all but three suspended.

Shawn MacNevin, 43, began serving his sentence immediately.

He pleaded guilty last week to one count each of manslaughter and aggravated operating under the influence of intoxicants.

Superior Court Justice William Anderson accepted MacNevin’s guilty pleas but said he wanted time to consider how long MacNevin should spend behind bars.

The judge said Thursday that MacNevin serving three years followed by four years of probation was “in the interest of society” and gives warning to other Maine drivers that such crimes will have serious consequences.

A plea agreement with the Penobscot County district attorney’s office recommended MacNevin be sentenced to 12 years in prison with all but four suspended. A $2,100 fine and a license suspension of 10 years are mandatory on the drunken driving conviction.

Defense attorney Marvin Glazier of Bangor last week asked that his client serve just two years behind bars.

MacNevin last week apologized to the friends and family of Elizabeth “Libby” Marie Horlieca, his longtime partner and mother of his children.

“I deeply regret the decision I made that night to drive,” he said. “I have changed the lives of those that knew her forever. I have changed my life forever.”

The couple lived together for about 20 years and had four children together, three of whom are minors ages 16, 15 and 13, Glazier told the judge last week.

MacNevin was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury in March in connection with the 2:30 a.m. crash on Finson Road in Bangor, which left Horlieca, 37, dead at the scene.

Horlieca died of a broken neck, Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, told the judge last week.

MacNevin’s blood alcohol level was 0.155 percent two hours after the crash, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, Roberts said. The defendant has three prior drunken driving convictions, two in 1998 and one in 1996.

Family members emotionally urged the judge to sentence MacNevin to probation so he could continue to work to support and care for his children. The victim’s sister and MacNevin’s relatives said that if he went to prison his children would lose two parents, not just their mother.

Anderson said Thursday that he had never presided over a vehicular manslaughter case in which the family of the defendant and the family of the victim asked for leniency, as happened in MacNevin’s case.

MacNevin faced up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 on the manslaughter charge alone.