What Type of Murder Is Drunk Driving?
A person who commits the crime of murder intoxicated may have a difficult time avoiding a criminal conviction. This is because DUI murder is considered one of the most serious drunk driving charges. In addition, there is a chance that a defendant could face the death penalty if they are convicted of murder.
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In the United States, one person dies every 52 minutes due to a drunk driving-related accident. These accidents can be caused by speeding, driving while under the influence, or running a red light.
The most common reason for a driver to be stopped by law enforcement is because of erratic or suspicious behavior. This is especially common if the driver has a history of being stopped and arrested for DUI, or if they are involved in an automobile collision.
While it is hard to prove a driver intentionally killed someone, prosecutors can still bring charges for DUI-related killings. Depending on the circumstances of the killing, the charge may be a homicide (first or second degree), or even manslaughter.
What Are the Elements of a DUI Murder Case?
In order to obtain a conviction for DUI murder, the state must prove that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In most cases, the prosecution must also show that you were impaired by a drug or alcohol to a level that deprived you of your mental or physical abilities.
If you were drinking prior to driving, your defense attorney can challenge whether it was reasonable to assume that you had a pre-drinking intent to drive. A prosecutor will have to show that you were in a situation where you left your house or business and drove to a bar or restaurant where you drank. If you did not have a pre-drinking intent, the prosecution must prove that you knew you were drunk and that you intended to drive.
Another element that the prosecution must prove is that you knowingly disregarded the fact that your conduct posed a danger to human life and acted with malice aforethought or recklessness manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. This is referred to as implied malice and it requires the defendant to have some special knowledge of the risks associated with drinking alcohol or drugs.
What if I Have a Prior DUI Conviction?
If a defendant has a previous DUI conviction, there is a special rule called the “Watson advisement” that will allow prosecutors to charge them with a second-degree murder charge. This is because the judge will consider the defendant’s prior conviction to determine whether it was reasonable for the defendant to drive while intoxicated, which can lead to a murder charge.
Whether you are facing a first-time or fourth-time DUI charge, it is imperative that you contact an experienced lawyer to protect yourself from the potential of being charged with a crime such as murder. The consequences of a criminal conviction on your driving record can be severe and irreparable, so it is important to get help right away.