DUI and Vehicular Manslaughter
Driving a vehicle while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol is a serious offense that can lead to various criminal charges under Connecticut law. In addition, if a driver causes an accident, and another person dies as a result of the accident, the driver could face even more serious charges. A DUI that ends with the death of another can lead to the driver being charged with vehicular manslaughter or lesser charges such as misconduct with a motor vehicle, negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, and reckless driving. Generally, when someone dies in a DUI accident, the driver will face prison time.
Vehicular Manslaughter in Connecticut
In Connecticut, a driver is guilty of vehicular manslaughter, which is considered second degree manslaughter, if while driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both, the driver causes the death of another person due to the effect of the alcohol or drugs. Most cases of vehicular manslaughter are considered involuntary. This means that the manslaughter was unintentional. This may seem counter-intuitive because the driver’s drinking may have been intentional, but unintentional in this context is a legal term. It basically means that the driver was driving in a reckless or unintentional manner, for example by speeding or running a red light, leading to the accident.
If the driver was under the influence and an accident followed, it does not necessarily mean an automatic conviction. The prosecution has to prove that the driver was under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, and that driver’s intoxication was the actual cause of the accident in order to get a conviction for vehicular manslaughter.
Vehicular manslaughter is a Class C felony in Connecticut, and can be punishable with between one and 10 years in prison. A monetary fine of up to $10,000 may also be imposed. A driver convicted of vehicular manslaughter also faces mandatory license suspension for one year for a first offense. Following the suspension, the law also requires that for two years following the suspension year, the driver install an ignition interlock device in any car the driver intends to drive. An ignition interlock device is a relatively small machine that is attached to a car’s starter system, stopping a driver from starting the car if the driver’s blood alcohol level is above a certain amount. The driver has to blow into the device to provide a breath sample for the measurement.
In addition to criminal charges, a driver may also face a civil suit from the family of the victim killed in the accident.
Contact a Connecticut Drunk Driving Attorney
If you have been arrested for a DUI, and especially if you are facing vehicular manslaughter charges, you need to contact a Fairfield County DUI criminal defense attorney immediately. Contact the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation on your case.