A DUI crash that turns fatal carries significant charges for the driver of the vehicle. The impact of a fatal accident is wide-ranging, including family members, friends, and others. If you were involved in a fatal car crash and are charged with DUI as a part of that accident, it is crucial that you seek experienced legal representation.
An experienced Gwinnett County DUI attorney can help protect your rights against these extremely serious charges. Do not attempt to face this process alone.
The SafeWise Study
SafeWise is a company that conducted a study about fatal impaired driving death rates per state. It showed that about 3.51 drunken or impaired driving deaths per every 100,000 people occurred in Georgia in 2017. Nationwide, over 300 people die in drunk driving crashes between Christmas and New Year's Day.
Georgia ranks number 21 in the United States for impaired driving deaths. The states with the five highest death rates are Wyoming, South Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, and Alabama. The states with the five lowest rates are New Jersey, New York, Minnesota, Utah, and Massachusetts.
DUI Vehicular Homicide Cases in Georgia
Vehicular homicide in Georgia is defined by O.C.G.A. § 40-6-393. There are two degree levels under this statute. An intoxicated driver can commit either degree of vehicular homicide, depending on the facts of the case.
Homicide by vehicle in the first degree occurs when a person, without malice aforethought, causes the death of another by
- unlawfully passing a school bus,
- reckless driving,
- fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, or
- leaving the scene of an accident.
Homicide by vehicle in the second degree occurs when a person causes the death of another due to a violation of any other statute than the ones listed in the first-degree homicide by vehicle statute.
Penalties for Homicide by Vehicle
If convicted of the offense of homicide by vehicle, you fave very serious criminal penalties. For a charge of first-degree homicide by vehicle, a person faces between 3 and 15 years in prison. The crime is also considered a felony.
If convicted of homicide by vehicle in the second degree is considered a misdemeanor, and carries penalties of
- time in jail of up to 12 months (1 year), and
- a maximum possible fine of up to $1,000.
Additionally, the person could face a civil suit from the family of anyone killed as a result of the accident, and difficulty finding employment because of the "felon" label.
Defending Your Case
It is crucial that you defend yourself against these charges to avoid or at least lessen the potential penalties you face. You can present evidence which shows that you:
- were not intoxicated at the time of the accident,
- did not commit the underlying offense (especially for first-degree offenses), and/or
- your conduct was not the cause of the accident.
Consult a Gwinnett County DUI Attorney
A charge of homicide by vehicle is extremely serious. You should not attempt to face this process alone, but should instead seek the help of an experienced Gwinnett County DUI attorney. Contact us today for a free consultation.