- posted: Jan. 14, 2016
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
When someone is found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI), he or she may face significant criminal penalties. These potential penalties are even greater, however, if someone else was injured or killed in a drunk driving-related crash.
Vehicular homicide is a crime with three different elements. It means (1) a homicide was committed (2) by means of a vehicle, (3) the operator of which was under the influence of alcohol when the crash in question occurred.
If a loved one has been killed by a drunk driver and you wish to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim, you and your attorneys would first need to be able to prove the driver was intoxicated, which can usually be accomplished with information from the crash scene when it comes to sobriety or blood alcohol test results.
The severity of criminal DUI charges
However, just because the alleged drunk driver’s actions resulted in a death does not necessarily make the accident a more serious form of homicide. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the driver could be charged with DUI manslaughter, which involves actions that are grossly negligent or reckless resulting in a person’s death, but without the intent to kill that person. These cases do not come with penalties quite as serious as murder, for example, but will still almost certainly result in prison time.
Regardless of the criminal charges involved in the case, however, you and your legal team would proceed as you would in any other civil claim — collect evidence, prove negligence and make your case in front of a jury, if necessary.
For more information on what to do if a loved one has been severely injured or killed in a drunk driving accident, contact an experienced Atlanta lawyer with McMenamy Law LLC.