Just getting a driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge can be a life changing event. But in some cases, the event ends another life. This is not an easy subject to go over, but a necessary one. This blog guide defines the laws you need to know, what defenses you might use, and how important an experienced lawyer is to a vehicular homicide case.
What is vehicular homicide?
This may have jumped off the page. If you’ve never heard vehicular homicide used, or have been unfortunate enough to have heard about it occurring before, you can pretty much get the picture. Some states do use it, where a death occurred because of a vehicle operated by someone impaired by alcohol. In other words, another driver, a pedestrian, or a passenger in a vehicle was killed in a vehicle accident.
It may seem like a simple mistake, especially if you or another driver had little alcohol in their system. However, just because you are below the BAC (blood alcohol content) limit, .08% for all states, does not mean you cannot be charged. If it’s found alcohol was a key factor in the accident, even at below the BAC legal limit, you can face charges.
It’s actually called homicide, which may confuse you. Not all homicides are actual crimes. State laws can differ on how vehicular homicide is practiced, especially with terms such as voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. The charges are all quite serious, and require legal help.
Defending a Vehicular Homicide Case
Defending a DUI itself can be tough: most charges stick and you face penalties. Vehicular homicide is very different, not just because of the serious nature but also in the defense. It’s much more important to acquire experienced legal representation. The key point here is in proving intoxication led to the accident. Whether you are over the limit or not does matter, but how this effected your decision making is much more important. The prosecution will be trying to prove, mainly through circumstantial evidence and police reports, that you were in fact under the influence and this caused the death. The defense will be trying to prove the opposite, that you were not under the influence or that your drinking had nothing to do with the accident.
Why You Need Legal Help
Vehicular homicide is obviously a very serious offense which can lead to some major charges. Your chances of winning a defense against this sort of case is based on the legal representation you get. It’s vital to hire a lawyer who has experience in DUI cases, especially ones as unique as death related to drinking and driving. While you are allowed to defend yourself or use court appointed representation, it’s in your best interests to hire a private lawyer. While this experience is never a happy one, a knowledgeable lawyer can make it one which ends fairly.