Aggravated DUI While Resulting in Death in Arizona
Driving impaired, even if only slightly, and causing the death of someone else is a serious offense. This could be the death of someone in your vehicle or in another vehicle that you collide with.
Drunk driving charges will be elevated to a much more serious offense if you cause a death. But what you also need to know is that killing someone while driving impaired could also lead to vehicular assault or manslaughter charges. Arizona does pursue these charges if a DUI leads to the death of another person.
Depending on the events leading up to your accident and the accident conditions themselves, the state might pursue manslaughter, negligent homicide or even second degree murder in these cases.
Having a skilled criminal defense and Arizona DUI attorney on your case is essential to protect your way of life and your good name. We’ll analyze the various conditions and situations where you could face these serious charges if you cause a death while under the influence behind the wheel of a car.
Manslaughter charges in connection with a DUI
Arizona law 13-1103 classifies manslaughter as “Recklessly causing the death of another person.” Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol could be classified as recklessly endangering the life of another person.
You’re at risk for causing a serious driving accident. While you have no intentions of harming another person, your poor judgment in choosing to get behind the wheel of a car is what causes that person’s death.
Reckless actions are generally classified as something that a person knows is an unjustifiable risk. But that person decides to disregard the risk and still continue on with their actions.
Manslaughter is a class 2 felony and could mean that you spend up to 10 years in prison.
Arizona DUI and negligent homicide
Alternatively, you could face negligent homicide for driving in a criminally negligent manner. The courts generally classify this as someone not perceiving that their actions pose an unjustifiable, yet substantial risk. In this case, a person deviates from what a reasonable person would see as good conduct.
In this case, you could face a class 3 felony and one and a half to four years in prison.
Second-degree murder for causing DUI-related death
When you intentionally cause the death of another person but did not premeditate the crime at all, you could be guilty of second degree murder. Arizona law 13-1104 outlines what could be classified as second degree murder.
The most important aspect of this type of murder is that it is not premeditated. But for the courts to succeed in prosecuting someone for second degree murder, they’ll need to prove that the defendant knew that their actions would cause the death of someone else. The courts also must prove that your actions were reckless.
This charge is a serious one and would be a class 1 felony. You’d face 10 to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Other charges related to a DUI
There are a few other charges that the prosecution could pursue in relation to a DUI charge. These charges include the following.
- Endangerment: this is a class 6 felony. It shows that you knew you were putting someone at imminent risk of death.
- Hit and run: if you leave the scene of an accident, you could face a class 2 felony. Sometimes this happens because the alcohol or drugs in your body impair your judgment. You could face an aggravated felony in these cases though.
No matter what charges you’re facing in connection with your DUI charge, you need a reputable attorney to guide you through court proceedings. You do not need to feel the pressure to plead guilty to the charges against you.
Our office is skilled in both DUI and criminal defense law. We’ll protect your rights and give you the legal defense you deserve.