when an accident Causes death Can it result in a Felony DUI?
By: William C. Head – Atlanta DUI Lawyer
All states have enacted laws that make a misdemeanor DUI (drunken driving or drugged driving) involving accidents that result in serious bodily injury or death of another, as one of several serious underlying driving offenses that will be the “predicate offense” (the underlying criminal act) that can authorize the prosecutor in your case to seek DUI felony charges against you. The law looks at the conduct of knowingly ingesting something — anything — that impairs you as being a culpable act of negligence that then exposes other members of the driving public to the risk of horrific, disfiguring injury, and possible fatalities. So, DUI penalties may not be your biggest problem if you are facing a DUI-related death or serious bodily injury, and the harsh consequences of a felony DUI homicide or serious injury felony offense.
Depending on state law and statutory terminology, your prior drunk driving or drugged driving conviction history, and your blood alcohol level or your blood alcohol content [BAC] obtained following the accident, you can find yourself facing one or more of these DUI felony, felony DWI, OUI felony, or felony OWI offenses:
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Involuntary manslaughter
- Voluntary manslaughter
- DUI manslaughter
- Manslaughter by automobile
- Manslaughter by vehicle
- Gross vehicular manslaughter
- Reckless manslaughter
- Manslaughter by culpable negligence
- Homicide by vehicle
- Vehicular homicide
- Motor vehicle homicide
- Vehicular feticide
- Involuntary manslaughter by careless driving
- Aggravated vehicular homicide
- Vehicular assault
- Aggravated vehicular assault
- Second degree murder
- Watson murder
- Serious injury by vehicle
- Grievous bodily injury
- Serious bodily injury
So, while a simple traffic infraction like running a red light, or failure to yield the right of way that leads to a death or serious bodily injury, may not create any charges greater than a DUI misdemeanor level offense with a penalty of up to 12 months in a county jail, drunken driving or DUI drugs will virtually always see the offender facing DUI felony charges. Such offenses can mean an extremely high bond, or no bond at all, and may result in a state prison sentence for the rest of your life.
Felony DUI First Degree
State DUI laws sometimes call the DUI felony offenses causing death or serious injuries “first degree,” and any other DUI misdemeanor offenses “second degree.” These less serious traffic infractions do not involve a serious driving offense like attempting to elude an officer, hit and run, racing, and the most common underlying dangerous act of intoxicated driving [DUI-DWI-OWI-OUI].
When a DUI felony threatens your freedom and your family’s financial future, you need to seek the best DUI felony lawyer or top DWI felony attorney in your local court area. You may have to find this veteran felony attorney in a major metropolitan city because a higher number of felony DUI fatality and serious injury cases happen in high-population areas as compared to rural areas.
If you are facing DUI felony offenses like these, call Mr. Head toll free: 1-888-839-4384 to help locate an experienced, capable DWI-DUI Lawyer for your DUI felony case.
For more information about felony DUIs, read some of our other helpful articles below: