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Being charged with driving under the influence is a serious charge on its own. When a vehicular manslaughter charge is added to the mix, the consequences can be dire. If you or a loved one has been charged with vehicular manslaughter related to a DUI, you should consider contacting an experienced DUI lawyer right away. Attorney Kevin Churchill from Churchill Criminal Defense is here to help. Contact us today at (303) 832-9000 or use our easy online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
In order to be convicted of vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence, the prosecutor must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
Reckless driving is defined as consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustified risk. If you simply didn’t realize there was a risk, you might not be charged with reckless driving or vehicular manslaughter.
Potential penalties include four to 12 years in state prison and a mandatory parole period of five years, and a possible fine of between $3,000 and $750,000.
Common defenses to DUI vehicular manslaughter include the following:
One of the most effective defenses to this charge is to show that you weren’t the person who was driving. If an accident occurs and someone dies as a result, the police typically don’t see it happen. They show up later when there are a lot of people around and the other passengers and driver(s) involved are out of their cars. If the prosecutor cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were the one driving, you can successfully avoid a vehicular manslaughter conviction.
One possible element the prosecutor needs to prove is that you were driving recklessly. This means they have to prove that you consciously disregarded an unjustifiable risk. If you and your lawyer are able to present evidence that you didn’t disregard an unjustifiable risk, or that you did but didn’t perceive it to be a risk, this could help you avoid a conviction.
The other way you can be convicted of vehicular manslaughter in this scenario is if the prosecutor cannot prove that you were under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. If you can show that this isn’t the case, you can avoid a conviction. You and your lawyer can attempt to do this in several ways. Your lawyer can try to show that there were errors in your chemical test – your breath or blood test – that would lead to reasonable doubt as to whether you were under the influence or not. Your lawyer may also raise a defense that the officers violated your rights. This could take the form of a coerced confession, planted evidence, or an illegal search.
DUI convictions are always problematic, but the consequences that a vehicular manslaughter conviction carries can be long-term and life-changing. You can be sentenced to significant prison time, have to pay large fines, and lose your license for a period of time. If you need help, don’t wait. Contact Kevin Churchill and the Churchill Criminal Defense firm right away. Contact a Denver vehicular manslaughter attorney today at (303) 832-9000 or use our easy online contact form to schedule a free consultation.