Drunk driving accidents involving injury or death are traumatic to everyone involved, even those who may have caused them. If you were involved in a drunk driving accident, you may find it difficult to make a clear, informed decision about how to proceed. Since the penalties for DUI causing injury or death are so severe, it is more important than ever to have the assistance of experienced DUI attorneys who can provide guidance and help you make decisions about your defense that will affect your future.
The DUI penalties for a person convicted of DUI involving serious injury or death are very serious and will depend heavily on the circumstances of the incident. Each case is unique and carries with it a different set of facts that need to be investigated and verified. These facts and how they are presented can make the difference between conviction and freedom.
Penalties For DUI Causing Injury Or Death
The penalties for a person who has been convicted of a DUI causing injury or death can be harsh. Since it is considered a felony DUI conviction, the penalties are those of a Class “B” felony:
- Jail time: State prison time for a conviction ranges from 2 years to 20 years. In certain counties, judges are not allowed to suspend sentences or offer probation.
- Fines: Fines will range from $2,000 to $5,000.
- Driver’s license suspension: The driver’s license will be suspended or revoked for three years.
What a driver is sentenced to will depend on the circumstances surrounding the incident. For this reason, avoiding a conviction or having the charges reduced is the first and foremost objective for a DUI attorney.
How Can An Attorney Help?
An experienced DUI attorney knows that there are several things the prosecutor will have to prove. First, it must be proven that the driver was, in fact, under the influence at the time of the incident. In many ways, these issues are investigated in the same way a first DUI offense would be. Some defense questions that may apply to this portion of the charge are:
- What tests were performed to establish DUI, who performed them, and when?
- Was the testing equipment correctly calibrated and maintained? Was the person who operated it qualified?
- What probable cause existed to support the belief that the driver was under the influence and merited testing?
Another element that must be proven is that the act of driving under the influence was the actual cause of the accident. Sometimes the other vehicle involved in the accident shared some or even all of the responsibility for the incident. Knowing and presenting this information can lead to a plea to a lesser charge or dismissal of the charges altogether.