VA DUI Involuntary Manslaughter Attorney

VA DUI Involuntary Manslaughter AttorneyAccording to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, alcohol-related traffic accidents cost over $400 million per year in the Commonwealth.

As such, Virginia has some of the strongest drunk and drugged driving laws in the country.

The criminal penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Virginia are harsh—but the severity of the consequences can significantly increase if the accident results in serious bodily injury or death.

When a death occurs, you could be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

If you pick up such a charge, you should consult a Virginia DUI involuntary manslaughter lawyer as soon as possible. Contact our team of traffic, DWI, and felony defense lawyers at Andrew Flusche, Attorney at Law, PLC.

Virginia DUI Involuntary Manslaughter Laws

Under Virginia Code §18.2-36.1, to convict you of DUI-related involuntary manslaughter, the Commonwealth must prove the following:

  1. You drove under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, and as a result;
  2. You unintentionally caused the death of another.

These charges are commonly referred to as “vehicular manslaughter” and are charged as a Class 5 felony.

What Is Vehicular Manslaughter?

Vehicular manslaughter refers to the unintentional killing of another person while operating a vehicle. It typically involves reckless or negligent behavior, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, excessive speeding, or other actions that result in a fatal accident.

In Virginia, vehicular manslaughter in Virginia can be charged as either involuntary manslaughter or aggravated involuntary manslaughter.

  1. Involuntary Manslaughter:
  • Generally treated as a Class 5 felony.
  • Penalties may include imprisonment for up to 10 years and fines.
  1. Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter:
  • Treated as a more serious offense, usually involving gross negligence or driving under the influence.
  • Considered a felony with potentially harsher penalties.
  • Penalties may include imprisonment for up to 20 years and fines.

Legal advice from a qualified attorney familiar with current Virginia law is crucial for accurate information tailored to a specific situation. Our DUI Defense attorneys can help you by discussing the details of your case.

What Is Driving Under the Influence in Virginia?

In Virginia, those operating a motor vehicle, boat, or watercraft with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher are considered to be operating or driving under the influence (DUI).

However, those with a BAC under .08% might still be regarded as impaired and subsequently convicted of DUI. Those under the legal drinking age of 21 can be convicted of illegal consumption of alcohol with a BAC of .02% to less than .08%.

You could be arrested for DUI within three hours after a crash without a warrant if police have probable cause to believe you broke the law.

In many cases, the Commonwealth will attempt to prove that you were under the influence or impaired by presenting a breath or blood test result.

Under Virginia Code §18.2-269, there is a presumption that the driver is under the influence if certain levels of drugs or alcohol are present in the driver’s system.

In contrast, DUI-related involuntary manslaughter only requires the Commonwealth to establish that the driver was violating sections (ii), (iii), or (iv) of Va. Code §18.2-266.

In these cases, a driver could face driver’s license revocation, fines, jail, and a felony conviction on their record.

What Does the Commonwealth Need to Prove in a Virginia DUI Case?

Given Virginia’s stringent DUI laws, the Commonwealth can use a plethora of evidence to prove that a driver was under the influence.

Some relevant evidence the Commonwealth could present includes the following:

  • Physical evidence of intoxication (such as flushed skin, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech);
  • Unsteady driving;
  • Admissions by the driver; and
  • Erratic muscle movements.

In many cases, this evidence is based on the arresting officer’s subjective perception of the driver’s behavior. An experienced Virginia DUI attorney can help those accused of involuntary manslaughter refute these assertions.

How Does the Commonwealth Prove That a Driver Unintentionally Caused the Death of Another?

If you are the defendant, the Virginia Code §18.2-36.1 requires the Commonwealth to prove that you caused the death of the victim as a result of driving under the influence.

It is critical to note that despite the Commonwealth’s strict laws, mere evidence that you were under the influence is insufficient to meet this burden.

Instead, the Commonwealth must show that the victim died because the intoxicants negatively affected your driving.

Fighting a DUI Involuntary Manslaughter Charge

An experienced Virginia DUI attorney can work with you to develop viable and legally sound defenses. We can challenge a prosecutor’s evidence in various ways.

Some common defenses to a DUI conviction include challenging the following:

  • Unconstitutional traffic stops,
  • Unlawful searches and seizures,
  • Improper sobriety tests, and
  • Invalid chemical or inaccurate breath and blood test results.

A defense attorney can challenge the Commonwealth’s evidence through pre-trial motions. Additionally, a defense attorney can refute the Commonwealth’s evidence through expert testimony, witness accounts, and forensic evidence if the case proceeds to trial.

Speak with a Virginia DUI Involuntary Manslaughter Attorney About Your Case Today

DUI manslaughter charges are extremely serious and can dramatically change the course of your life. At Flusche & Fitzgerald, Attorneys at Law, PLC, we have over 14 years of experience defending clients who face serious criminal and traffic-related charges, including DUI offenses.

We know what it takes to get our clients the results they are looking for. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with a Virginia DUI manslaughter attorney today, call 540-318-5824.

You can also reach us through our online contact form, and one of our attorneys will be in touch shortly.

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