Vehicle homicide, often known as DUI homicide, is a very serious offense. The prosecution will actively pursue the maximum sentence if you are responsible for another person’s death in a drunk driving accident.
Our DUI lawyer in Colorado Springs is competent at building a solid defense to disprove the facts, which can help your case succeed. If you were convicted of DUI vehicular murder, you may face years in prison, and your lifelong criminal record may also impact your future.
The first step in avoiding the worst possible outcome is having a free consultation with a Colorado Springs DUI and vehicular homicide lawyer from the Law Offices of Christian A. Schwaner. They can clarify the legal process you’ll go through after being charged with a DUI or vehicle homicide, the penalties you face, and legal alternatives. We cover some of this below so you can prepare for your initial session.
Should I Comply if Pulled Over and Asked to Do a Breathalyzer Test?
You have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test if requested, but you should be aware that doing so will probably result in your arrest. The best course of action if the cops pull you over is to remain composed and courteous.
If you are requested to exit the vehicle, do so politely. The best course of action if you are detained by the police for DUI is to comply with them and request to speak to a lawyer as soon as you can, as there are other factors that can cause you to fail a breathalyzer test.
How do Colorado Police Prove if You Were Driving Under the Influence?
In Colorado Springs, you may be found guilty of vehicular homicide if you operated a motor vehicle carelessly or while impaired by drugs or alcohol and your actions were the direct cause of another person’s death per Colorado Statute 18-3-106.
The following constitutes being “under the influence of alcohol”:
- A blood alcohol level (BAC) between .05% and .08%, along with other evidence, such as open bottles or visible signs of intoxication, will be taken into account to determine if you were under the influence
- A BAC of .08% or higher is automatic intoxication
If you are facing a DUI charge, it is strongly suggested that you find a DUI attorney near you to handle the situation with local law enforcement before saying anything that could incriminate you further.
What Is the Punishment for Vehicular Homicide in Colorado Springs, CO?
In cases of DUI or driving while impaired, vehicular homicide is a third-degree crime, but if intoxication is involved, it is a Class 4 crime. With the help of a Colorado Springs DUI and vehicular homicide attorney like Christian A. Schwaner, you may be able to avoid the following penalties:
- Large monetary penalties: You risk being penalized hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
- Prison: Repeat offenders must serve a minimum of one year in prison.
- Suspension of your driver’s license: You risk losing your driving ability or significantly losing Colorado driver’s license points. You may also have to install an ignition interlock device before reinstating your license.
- Increased insurance premiums: You might have to pay more for auto insurance due to changes in your license points.
- Criminal record: A conviction for operating a vehicle while intoxicated will be on your record, where potential employers, lenders, and other parties may be able to see it.
Punitive damages may also be awarded to the injured party directly by drivers who are found guilty of vehicular assault while under the influence.
What Is the Difference Between Reckless Driving and Driving Under the Influence for a Vehicle Homicide Charge?
Reckless driving occurs when a driver takes significant, unwarranted risks while operating a motor vehicle, resulting in the death of another person. Even if you did not drive carelessly, punishment is harsher when drugs or alcohol were involved in a car accident that resulted in someone else’s death.
Class 3 Felony:
If you violated Colorado law by driving or operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or both alcohol and drugs, and such behavior was the direct cause of another person’s death. The presumed sentencing range is four to 12 years in jail, possibly more if a judge finds egregious aggravating circumstances.
Class 4 Felony
According to Colorado Revised Statutes 18-1-305(1), (a), the defendant is charged with this crime after recklessly driving or operating a motor vehicle while on public property. The sentencing range for vehicular homicide, a Class 4 felony, is two to six years in jail and could be increased to 12 for aggravating factors.
Can an Attorney Help My Case if I Am Charged With a DUI and Vehicular Homicide?
To defend your rights, your Colorado Springs attorney, that specializes in DUI vehicular homicide, will make an effort to compile evidence. As the motorist accused of vehicular murder, defending your case with solid, competent proof is needed to clear you of the charge or reduce your sentence.
These cases can be extremely complex, and more often than not, the most serious criminal punishment is pursued. While car accidents are tragic, they are still accidents. Your best chance of averting the worst possible outcome in civil court is to hire Christian A. Schwaner, a defense attorney in Colorado Springs.