When a driver is arrested for DUI, no matter the exact circumstances of the event, it is a serious criminal charge. However, when the driver is cited for having injured or killed someone during the course of DUI, they can expect to receive the harshest of penalties upon conviction. The victim may have been a passenger, a pedestrian, or someone in another vehicle. If you were the driver charged with DUI and someone was harmed, you will need more than a traffic lawyer; you will need a respected and experienced DUI attorney, like a DUI attorney in MD, representing you. If your family member was the victim of a DUI driver, do not delay in contacting a personal injury lawyer for a consultation.
Every case is different because of the many variables that can come into play. This is why it’s important to consult a skilled attorney. He or she will be able to objectively determine the likely outcome for any given legal strategy based on recent court rulings and historical precedence. When a prosecutor pursues a DUI conviction of a driver who is accused of causing someone’s death, they may handle it in a few different ways.
Criminal Charges Associated with DUI Resulting in a Fatality
Criminal laws and motor vehicle laws vary somewhat from state to state, and your attorney can clarify how your state’s laws will affect your case. The criminal charges that a DUI driver may face if they are accused of killing due to their DUI behavior, could include one or more of the following:
- Vehicular homicide
- DUI manslaughter
- Negligent homicide
- Aggravated DUI
- Vehicular manslaughter
Understanding the Differences between Criminal Charges
In some states, the defendant’s intent at the time of the victim’s death is what will inform the prosecutor in terms of what charges to press against them. However, in all states, whether or not the driver intended to kill someone while DUI, their mental state at the time of the accident will not absolve them of the crime. To get a conviction on the DUI charge, the prosecutor merely needs to prove that the defendant was driving under the influence.
In other states, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant was in a negligent state of mind at the time of the DUI when he or she drove into the victim and killed them. If the prosecutor fails in this, they will not likely be successful in getting a DUI manslaughter conviction against the defendant. If the prosecutor wishes to pursue a conviction on the charge of vehicular manslaughter, they must prove that the defendant was grossly negligent or reckless.
For the prosecutor to successfully try a defendant for murder as a result of them killing someone while DUI, they must show that the defendant acted with extreme recklessness and exhibited a conscious disregard for human life.
Consult a Lawyer to Protect Your Legal Rights
Whether you or your family were the victim of a DUI driver, or were the driver, it’s essential that you consult a lawyer to protect your rights throughout the judicial process.
Thanks to The Lawfirm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into what happens when someone who is driving under the influence gets into an accident that results in a death.