Find Out the Sentence for DUI Causing Death in Arizona
Drunk driving charges are elevated to an even more significant offense if the driver in question causes a crash that takes a life. Even if the driver is only slightly drunk or high after using alcohol or drugs, there is the potential for the DUI related death to spur a charge for manslaughter, second degree murder or negligent homicide. Let’s take a closer look at the state’s laws pertaining to deaths related to DUI crashes.
Arizona DUI Deaths
Arizona is somewhat unique in that it does not have a vehicular manslaughter law or a vehicular assault law on the books. However, as noted above, a DUI related death can be elevated to a charge such as manslaughter. To be more specific, the relevant law is manslaughter as described in the state’s Revised Statute §13-1103(A)(1). Such a charge is applicable when the driver allegedly caused another individual’s death in a reckless manner.
Keep in mind, driving while drunk or high is an inherently reckless act. It can be argued drivers who drive drunk knew the risk of doing so, meaning they understood driving while inebriated can lead to a fatality yet decided to drive anyway. Such behavior is clearly reckless. Reckless actions are legally defined as those in which an individual is aware of the unjustified risk and subsequently disregarded that risk. Such risk qualifies as a significant deviation of the standard of conduct of a reasonable individual. Manslaughter is considered to be a Class 2 dangerous felony in the state of Arizona, carrying a penalty ranging between four years and a decade in prison.
Second Degree Murder as a Result of a DUI Crash
An individual who intentionally causes another’s death without premeditation can be charged with second degree murder in accordance with the state’s Revised Statute §13-1104. However, in order to prove the defendant’s guilt, the prosecution is required to show the defendant was aware of the fact that the action in question would lead to death and that those actions were reckless. Second degree murder is categorized as a Class 1 felony. Such a felony is punishable with a decade to 25 years in prison.
Negligent Homicide in the Context of a DUI Crash
The charge of negligent homicide is centered on causing another’s death when driving in a manner that is criminally negligent. This charge is defined as the failure to perceive an unjustifiable act and substantial risk. The conduct is a significant deviation from what a reasonable individual would have done in the situation. Such is the basis for criminality in the context of a DUI crash. Negligent homicide is considered a Class 3 felony. This felony carries a penalty between 1.5 years and four years in prison.
Why Felony Convictions are a Problem
If you are found guilty of a felony, your life will never be the same. A felony conviction has ramifications that last for the remainder of your life. Penalties range from years in Arizona state prison to fines of $10,000 on up, an extended probation period and the requirement to meet with a probation officer at specific points in time. Furthermore, if probation is violated after a felony conviction, there is a good chance the felon will be sent back to prison.
Add in the fact that felons are barred from voting in elections and holding public office and there is even more reason to do everything in your power to prevent such a conviction. In fact, those with felony convictions lose their Second Amendment right to own a firearm. Furthermore, felony records are available when background and employment checks are conducted. In fact, a felony can even cause you to be expelled from an academic institution and preclude you from qualifying for an apartment lease. Felonies can even lead to the revoking or suspension of a professional license such as those obtained by nurses, teachers and insurance agents.