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.
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.Share