Do You Need a Lawyer for DUI Manslaughter?
The ramifications of a DUI conviction can be very far reaching. If convicted, you can face jail time, heavy fines, expensive mandatory classes on driver safety, and the suspension of your driver’s license. While these penalties may feel severe if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated, they are not as grim as the sentence you could receive for DUI manslaughter. If you cause an accident while drinking and driving, and that accident results in a fatality, the legal and emotional consequences can follow you for your entire life. Due to the severity of the punishment you may receive, hiring an experienced DUI lawyer might lessen the charges and the penalties.
A DUI manslaughter offense can be classified in two difference ways: Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence, or Vehicular Manslaughter with Ordinary Negligence. The difference between the two kinds of DUI manslaughter charges is how reckless the driver was. If a driver violates a traffic law while intoxicated and causes a death, they will be charged with the ordinary negligence offense. If the driver was extremely reckless while driving, the charge will be Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence. Vehicular manslaughter can be a misdemeanor offense, but in the majority of cases, when someone is killed due to a drinking and driving accident, it is charged as a felony.
DUI Manslaughter has been in the news a lot recently. There have been several sports stars involved in drunk-driving accidents. Last month Donte Stallworth was convicted of the crime. He had been drinking and was driving down a street when a pedestrian decided to cross the street. Stallworth was not quick enough to move around the pedestrian and struck the man with his vehicle. The accident was fatal for the pedestrian.
The man who decided to cross the street did not cross on a crosswalk. He just ran across a busy street, leading some to believe that the man actually had some fault in the accident. However, that didn’t change the fact that Stallworth registered a 0.12 BAC, which is over the legal limit of 0.08 in the state of Florida. Stallworth has not yet been sentenced for the crime, but he is sure to be given some jail time no matter how much drinking factored into the accident.
Drinking and driving is a choice. If you drink and subsequently drive, you have made the decision to step into a vehicle and operate it, so you should be held liable for any damages you cause. If your actions cause a death, you will be held liable and face harsh penalties.