What is a DUI Resulting in Death?
If you’ve been accused of causing the death of another person while driving under the influence, you may be facing serious criminal charges. This can have devastating consequences for your life and future.
The prosecution can pursue a wide range of charges when DUI causes someone’s death, including vehicular homicide and manslaughter. If you’re facing this type of charge, you need an experienced attorney.
Charges for a DUI Resulting in Death
If you are involved in a drunk driving accident that results in the death of another person, you could be facing more serious charges than just a DUI. You may be facing charges of homicide, manslaughter, or murder, among others.
In order to be convicted of these charges, the prosecutor must prove that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident and that you caused the death of the victim. This can be done through testimony from police officers, medical professionals, and accident reconstructionists.
The key to a successful defense of these charges is understanding the laws in your state and how they differ from the law in other states. A skilled attorney will be able to use this information to help defend you against these charges.
One of the most common types of charges for a DUI resulting in death is vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (VMI). This offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony and carries stiff fines, community service, mandated alcohol counseling, restitution to the victim’s family, and up to one year in jail.
Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is a more serious charge that can result in prison time and a fine of $10,000 or more, depending on the facts of your case. Unlike VMI, this is a felony and prosecutors must demonstrate that your actions were reckless and dangerous.
DUI Death Enhancements
Getting charged with driving under the influence (DUI) can be a scary proposition for anyone, but facing DUI charges following an accident or injury is even worse. If you are convicted of a DUI related to an accident, you may be required to attend a specialized DUI alcohol education program, face substantial fines and penalties, and possibly serve time in a high-security prison. Those who have been involved in accidents involving car collisions can also be subject to DUI vehicle damage enhancements that increase the mandatory jail time for a first offense by several days, depending on the severity of the damage.
Whether you have been accused of DUI after an accident or are looking to minimize the risk of a future criminal conviction, talk to a Texas DUI attorney about your options. They will be able to review all the details of your case and help you find a solution that fits your needs.
Vehicular Homicide & Manslaughter
In some states, driving under the influence (DUI) is enough to qualify as vehicular manslaughter. This is the case even if the DUI is not associated with a traffic offense or if the driver is not operating a vehicle negligently.
Despite this, it’s important to note that not all deaths caused by drunk or drugged drivers will qualify as vehicular manslaughter. These types of offenses are typically punishable as felonies.
One reason for this is that some states have different standards of negligence for vehicular manslaughter than they do for involuntary manslaughter, a lower charge. This is because prosecutors often must prove that a driver’s behavior was more egregious than ordinary negligence and that the driver did not act in accordance with the standard of care that a reasonable person would.
Another important factor is the type of negligence involved. Some states consider a driver to be guilty of vehicular manslaughter when they operate their vehicle in a way that is more egregious than simple negligence, such as by driving at excessive speed, running red lights, or traveling on the wrong side of the road.
Finally, some states will also consider a driver to be guilty of vehicular homicide when they operate their vehicle in a way to cause great bodily harm or death. This can include severe injuries such as amputation, deformity, and loss or impairment of organ function.
Manslaughter & Murder
Murder and manslaughter are two of the most serious crimes that you can be charged with if you have been involved in a DUI resulting in death. While both crimes are very serious, the consequences for a conviction for murder can be much more severe than those for manslaughter.
When determining whether or not to charge a defendant with murder, the prosecutor must establish that the defendant had malice aforethought for their actions. This can be difficult in some cases, especially if the defendant is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
However, the prosecutor may be able to prove that the defendant was extreme indifference to human life if they can prove that they caused the death of another person by recklessly acting. This is called second-degree murder, and it is a more serious crime than manslaughter.
A person charged with murder will face the most severe punishment possible, often including a sentence of life in prison. In addition, the circumstances of the murder can have a big impact on what the prosecution must prove.
For example, if the murder was committed during a heated argument, the prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant was provoked in order to charge them with the crime. This is because the defendant may not have had the intention to kill, but still killed the victim if they were strongly provoked.
In addition, some states also have a lower level of offense known as voluntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter is a lesser included offense of murder in some jurisdictions and can be charged when the killing was done in the heat of passion or for self-defense. Penalties for voluntary manslaughter may vary depending on the state, but they typically include less time in prison than if the person is convicted of murder.
Talk to an Attorney
When a person dies in a car accident as a result of a DUI, it is an overwhelming tragedy. The loss is heartbreaking for the family, and the guilt is overwhelming for the driver. Whether you are the person charged with causing the death or are the victim’s loved one, it is important to talk to an attorney.
A DUI resulting in death is a serious offense, and you will need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you through this difficult time. A conviction can mean severe consequences, including a jail or prison sentence, fines, and restitution to the family of the deceased.
In addition to a criminal conviction, a DUI resulting in death can also result in the loss of your driving privileges. This is especially true if you have any prior driving under the influence (DUI) convictions on your record.
This is why it is so important to talk to an attorney as soon as you have been arrested and charged with a DUI resulting in death. An experienced attorney will be able to investigate all the possible defenses.
For example, an experienced attorney will know that you have the right to present evidence that you were not the cause of the injury or death in the accident. This is called a superseding or intervening cause, and it can be an effective way to prove that you were not guilty of the DUI offense at the time of the accident.
We invite you to contact or call us today if you need the best DWI Law Attorney. Visit our blog for more related articles.