When a police officer charges you with a DUI, the penalties could be very serious if they convict you. A DUI conviction will stay on your criminal record as a misdemeanor or a felony permanently and can make it difficult to find housing or jobs. However, if you were driving under the influence and killed someone, you can expect the penalties to be extreme. DUI attorneys understand that you need the help of a good criminal defense lawyer who specializes in both DUI crimes as well as potential homicide charges. Before getting ahead of yourself, however, it is important that you call a law office to see how they can help you.
Will I automatically go to jail for this?
There are a lot of different circumstances that a court must take into consideration if someone died as a result of you driving under the influence. Typically, you can expect that a person in these circumstances will likely face felony charges.
- Vehicular Manslaughter/Vehicular Homicide. Not all homicide charges are the same, and when you are charged with a DUI in addition to homicide or manslaughter, you can expect different results. Depending on the state you live in, you may be charged with “vehicular homicide” which could amount to a maximum of 15 years in prison and hefty fines. On the other hand, another state may charge you with driving your vehicle recklessly while intoxicated and depending on how many people died as a result of an accident you caused, you may be facing life in prison.
- DUI Enhancements. Depending on your state, you may see that while a typical DUI first-offense carries only a misdemeanor with a small amount of jail time, a court can enhance that DUI if it is in concurrence with causing the death of another person and make it a felony and add more severe fines and prison time.
- Murder. Even if the accident you allegedly caused was the result of driving under the influence, the prosecution may push for a more general conviction of second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter.
When you face charges like these, your first reaction may be to protest what the police officer is accusing you of. However, one of the most important things you can do in this situation is to ask for your attorney before you say anything. You may believe that this makes you look more guilty, but you want to ensure you do not say anything incriminating to the police before your attorney arrives. These are very serious charges and you should get the help of a trusted murder lawyer in San Francisco, CA with experience in DUI and homicide charges. Call a law office now.
Thanks to the Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal law and DUI accident deaths.