How A Fatality Can Lead To More Serious DUI Charges

The reason why DUIs are taken so seriously is that they often lead to accidents that can cause serious injuries or death. If you are involved in a DUI crash in which someone passed away, this can have an impact on your case. You'll definitely want to get in contact with a DUI law firm.

Consequences of a DUI

There are many harsh penalties for DUIs. However, you are most likely to face the most severe penalties when the accident leads to a fatality. Rather than be charged with a simple DUI, you may face an aggravated DUI charge. You may also be charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, DUI manslaughter, or even murder. What you will be charged with depends on the statutes of wherever your accident occurred. In rare cases, such as with some California DUI cases, the courts may choose to charge you with murder. 

The Argument of the Prosecution

The type of charge you receive is based on the prohibited act and your mental state. Because you caused a death as a result of your DUI, the only factor that might differ is your mental state. However, some aspects of your charge fall under strict liability. For example, your mental state is not relevant when determining whether you committed a DUI. However, in some states, to receive a manslaughter conviction, the state must prove that you were intentionally negligent.

To be charged with murder, the prosecution must prove that you were very reckless or that you intended to create a dangerous situation. This must also be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of your peers. 

Your Defense

Because the charges you receive can be based on your mental state, you may be able to argue that you had a different mental state than what the prosecutor alleges. However, you will need help from an experienced DUI law firm to be able to make an effective case. 

The prosecutor might argue that the fact that you had a very high BAC and the fact that you were told that you were too drunk to drive is evidence that you were being reckless. However, you may be able to dispute the results of the alcohol test and you may also successfully dispute the eyewitness testimony. The prosecution might also argue that your manner of driving was very reckless, but your DUI attorney may argue that there was a justified reason for how you were driving. By casting doubt on the allegations, you may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed.