The Penalties for Vehicular Homicide Related to Drunk Driving
Drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI) of any substance comes with its fair share of penalties. In some cases, a couple of drinks and getting behind the wheel can result in something worse. If your car subsequently turns into a lethal weapon, you could face vehicular homicide charges.
Truth be told, you might not even realize that you were too intoxicated to drive. Perhaps you’re someone who rarely drinks and figure you had just a short way to make it home. You may also be one of those people who thinks buzzed driving doesn’t count as drunk driving. Candidly, it’s not a lesson anyone wants to learn.
Even if you’re not hurt in the motor vehicle crash yourself, the fact that you’re accused of causing a fatal accident hits home hard. Without question, you’ll spend sleepless nights wishing you could turn back time. You may replay the scene over and over again in your head.
If you were truly driving while under the influence, you’ll undoubtedly feel guilt. After all, someone died as a result of your actions. Your afternoon or evening of fun turned into the worst day of your life.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that you weren’t drunk or driving under the influence of any substance. And, there’s always the chance that you weren’t responsible for the accident that resulted in a fatality.
Whatever the case, it is critical that you meet with an attorney who has experience handling both DUI and vehicular homicide cases. The penalties for these types of charges can be quite extensive.
Vehicular Homicide and DUI
One doesn’t have to search far to learn about the penalties of DUI and vehicular homicide. Last month, the news reported a case of a man who will serve up to 15 years in prison. In this particular case, the defendant’s blood alcohol reading was four times over the legal limit. When his pickup truck swerved into oncoming traffic, the defendant crashed into another vehicle. That driver died as a result of his injuries.
Pennsylvania laws changed earlier this year as far vehicular homicide associated with drunk driving. Previously, it didn’t matter if the fatal accident was as a result of your first DUI or a subsequent one. The minimum in all cases was three years in prison.
Repeat offenders are treated differently under the new changes. If the vehicular homicide charges coincide with a second DUI conviction, the minimum prison sentence is five years. Meanwhile, you could be facing a minimum of seven years if you’re a third time convicted offender.
Other factors may add to the length of your sentence. For example, the law says that you could face an additional five years behind bars if the accident occurred in a work zone. There are also penalties tacked on if you were on a suspended or revoked list. Candidly, these represent just a couple of charges that could add to your time in prison.
While confinement is by far the scariest part of a vehicular homicide conviction, you will also face fines and other costs.