In most states, a driver who accidentally kills another while drunk is charged with vehicular manslaughter. This charge is a serious criminal offense that can lead to jail time and fines, as well as a long-term criminal record. It’s also important to understand that there are a number of defenses to a DUI manslaughter charge, including illegally obtained evidence and medical conditions related to intoxication.
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There are a few different ways that you could be charged with murder for killing someone while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, depending on your state’s laws. Some jurisdictions even have specific homicide crimes that are designed to punish drivers who kill others in drunk driving accidents.
Vehicular manslaughter charges are generally less severe than aggravated DUI murder charges, and you may be charged with this lesser crime if your driving was not particularly negligent. In some cases, the driving may have been a simple mistake, such as driving 10 mph over the posted speed limit or reading a text message on your mobile phone while you were intoxicated.
Moreover, a criminal conviction for vehicular manslaughter can have life-changing consequences that can impact your future career and personal life. It can prevent you from gaining admission to a college or university, affect your ability to find work as a teacher or government employee, and make it difficult to rent a home or receive health insurance benefits.
In addition to the criminal penalties, a convicted driver will have a felony conviction on their record for life. It can also negatively impact their professional reputation, as employers and government agencies often review criminal records to determine whether or not to hire an applicant.
A more severe crime than a standard DUI manslaughter charge, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (or DUI manslaughter with gross negligence) is defined by a number of factors. First, a person is guilty of this crime when their actions are deemed to be “grossly negligent.” That means that they were acting in an obviously unreasonable way when driving while intoxicated and causing death or great bodily harm.
Additionally, a BAC of more than 0.08 increases the severity of this crime. In New York, for example, a driver who has a BAC of greater than 0.18 is facing a felony conviction and the potential to serve up to 15 years in prison, regardless of how many people were killed or injured in the accident.
If you are charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, it’s important to speak with an experienced defense attorney who will fight for you and your rights. It’s also essential to seek out a lawyer with experience handling DUI-related killings.
A driver who causes a fatal accident while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be convicted of a vehicular homicide charge, which is the most serious type of criminal manslaughter charge.