Can a DUI Charge Lead to Manslaughter?
When most people get behind the wheel of a vehicle, they have no intention of hurting anybody. Unfortunately, getting behind the wheel can result in a manslaughter charge if somebody else dies. If you are involved in an accident and charged with a DUI, you could find yourself facing charges of DUI manslaughter.
First things first: you need to understand what manslaughter is.
Manslaughter is often thought of as "less serious" than charges of murder. However, this perception is false. Manslaughter is taken seriously by the court, especially if you are charged in conjunction with a DUI. DUI charges are serious because they so often involve other parties who were severely injured or even killed in the accident.
In the states that pair DUI and manslaughter together, the charge is often called DUI manslaughter or DUI murder.
When Manslaughter and DUI Meet
Manslaughter comes into play with DUI charges when a prosecutor wants to bring charges against somebody who was involved in an accident that resulted in the death of at least one person.
Unlike murder, manslaughter charges do not come with the need to prove malice or intent. If the court can determine that you contributed to or caused an individual's death without intent, you may be convicted. If somebody dies and you are behind the wheel, your DUI charge could suddenly become elevated.
Next, the court will consider two different types of manslaughter: voluntary or involuntary.
Voluntary manslaughter is often associated with crimes of passion. For instance, an individual may be charged with voluntary manslaughter if they find their spouse in the act of adultery and reacts violently.
Involuntary manslaughter involves unintentional killing that results from an accident. In many cases, the death stems from reckless actions. In your case, you may face involuntary manslaughter because police believed you were driving under the influence.
You Need a DUI Attorney
The charges you face depend on your location and the events surrounding your DUI. If somebody dies after a DUI accident, you may not realize how the elevated charges impact you. Your DUI attorney does understand how these charges work and what you need to do to prevent further problems.
DUI attorneys may be able to prevent the escalation of your charges by helping you work with investigators. Every case is different, and you need an attorney to walk you through the steps that follow. A DUI attorney will help you defend against allegations of DUI-related charges, including DUI manslaughter. To learn more, contact an attorney like Daniels Long & Pinsel.