DUI is a criminal charge that strikes fear into the heart of anyone who thinks of it. We think of it all the time when out at the bar with friends or even after a couple drinks at dinner. The threat of a DUI charge has encouraged people to drive less and to take more advantage of public transportation and ride sharing services. And as burdensome as a DUI criminal charge can be, it is usually not the end of the world. Most people end up on probation and have to attend DUI school along with other requirements.
DUIs however, can be far more serious when someone is injured or killed as a result of a drunk driver. This is an unfortunately common occurrence. More than 10,000 people each year die in car accidents where a drunk driver is involved. That number encompasses one third of all traffic related deaths. If you have been involved in a DUI where someone was killed, you need to do everything you can to preserve your rights and build the best defense possible. If you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation, you should speak to an experienced Clearwater DUI lawyer immediately.Elements of DUI Homicide
In order to prove someone guilty of DUI homicide, the police and prosecutors must first prove that the alleged drunk driver was driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the point where there normal faculties were impaired. Normal faculties are defined as the ability to walk, talk, appropriately answer questions, and operate a motor vehicle, among other things.
If the state can prove that the driver’s normal faculties were impaired, they must then move on to prove that the driver contributed to or caused the death of another person. This is the main difference from a typical DUI case. In a regular DUI crash, it does not matter who was at fault for an accident. Even if a drunk driver is 100% not at fault for an accident, he or she can still be charged with DUI. In a DUI homicide case, the prosecution must also prove that the driver contributed to or caused the crash. A skilled Clearwater DUI lawyer may be able to argue that the deceased person was at fault for the crash or their own death.
Lack of causation is one of the most effective defenses in DUI homicide cases. Police and investigators often have a desire and incentive to conclude that the drunk driver is at fault. Victims and their families are often up in arms about a DUI driver’s involvement in a fatal crash. However, a dedicated lawyer can conduct an independent investigation into your case that will often uncover evidence and details that were overlooked by the state. This evidence can potentially prove that you were not at fault or at least help to poke holes in the state’s case.DUI Homicide Penalties
One of the reasons it is so important to retain an experienced lawyer to handle your DUI homicide case is due to the severe penalties that you will be up against if charged with this offense. DUI homicide is a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. Because the court must by law take into account the death of another human being at the sentencing stage, defendants will often be facing serious mandatory prison time. If, during the course of the offense, the accused driver left the scene of the accident without attempting to render aid to the people injured or deceased, the crime is upgraded to a first degree felony punishable by up to thirty years in prison. Probation is typically not on the table in such cases unless a skilled lawyer can get involved and dismantle the state’s case.Speak to a Dedicated Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
The lawyers at Hanlon Law have years of experience defending those charged with all ranges of DUI cases. We are the Clearwater DUI lawyers for you and will develop the most successful defense for your case. Call us today at 727.897.5413.