Two Things You Should Know About Sentencing For Vehicular Homicide

Posted on: 25 May 2016

If you get into an accident while under the influence of alcohol and someone dies as a result, it's almost certain you'll be charged with vehicular homicide and sentenced to serve jail time if you're convicted. The length of your jail sentence will be influenced by a variety of factors. Here are two surprising determinants you should know about, which can help you determine the best way to handle your case.

Victim Characteristics

In an ideal world, every victim who was killed by a drunk driver would be treated with equal significance. Unfortunately, in America, studies have shown that the justice system treats both perpetrators and victims differently based on certain characteristics. For example, a study published in April 2000 showed that people who committed vehicular homicide were given sentences that were 56 percent longer if the person killed was a woman. Children are revered in society, so it's a safe bet that you would probably also receive a longer sentence if a child died in an accident you caused.

It's difficult to fight against inherent biases a judge or jury may have in favor of the victim or against you, especially since many times people may not consciously realize they have them. The best you can do in this situation is highlight facts that favor you. For instance, you can emphasize the fact that you don't have a record for DUIs or other criminal activity.

The Type of Violation is Irrelevant

It doesn't matter if the DUI you received was a misdemeanor or a felony, you will be charged with vehicular homicide if someone dies as a result of an accident you caused while intoxicated and convicted of this crime if there is enough supporting evidence. In fact, the type of DUI violation you're charged with can work against you.

In many cases, you are only charged with a felony DUI if there are aggravating circumstances. For instance, having multiple DUIs on your record can elevate a misdemeanor DUI into a felony, as does having an exceptionally high BAC and causing property damage over a certain amount. Any of these things can influence whether the prosecutor will stick with the vehicular homicide charge or reduce it to something else, your sentencing, and the prosecution's willingness or ability to make a plea deal.

Defending against a charge of vehicular homicide can be difficult, so it's critical to work with a criminal defense attorney who can help you develop the best case possible.


Staying Out Of Trouble

About a year ago, I realized that I was starting to bend the rules a little when I was out in public with my friends. I was really nervous about getting caught, so I started thinking more carefully about what I was doing and why I was doing it. However, one night, I decided to go streaking, and I was arrested. I realized that I needed to work with a criminal attorney to get the help that I needed, and I sat down with them to go over the details of my case. After a long and arduous court case, I had learned my lesson and stayed out of jail. This blog is all about staying out of trouble in the first place and knowing how to prevent problems in your personal life.