DUI Resulting in Fatality Charges
Aug. 10, 2023
Being accused of drunk driving is always an intimidating and stressful experience. However, things can get even worse if you are accused of DUI resulting in someone’s death. DUI resulting in fatality charges can lead to imprisonment, hefty fines, license revocation, and a permanent criminal record, among other severe consequences.
Given the serious nature of the accusations, it is critical that you hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to advocate for your rights, clear your name, and minimize the potentially devastating legal consequences of a conviction.
As a criminal defense attorney at Watkins Law Firm LLC, I can help you build the most effective defense after conducting a thorough investigation. I will fight aggressively to defend your reputation and freedom and make sure that drunk driving charges do not ruin your life. I have an office in Boulder, Colorado, but also serve clients in Louisville, Lafayette, Longmont, and Broomfield.
Possible Charges for a DUI Resulting in Fatality
In Colorado, you can face DUI vehicular homicide charges if the prosecution can prove these two elements:
You were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs when operating the motor vehicle; and
The victim’s death was the proximate result of your conduct.
Note: According to the official website of the Colorado General Assembly, a person commits DUI per se if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher at the time of operating the vehicle or within two hours after driving.
As with other DUI-related charges, the penalties for a DUI vehicular homicide may vary depending on your criminal history and the number of drunk driving convictions on your record. Generally, vehicular homicide is a Class 3 felony in the state of Colorado.
DUI Vehicular Manslaughter in Colorado
As mentioned earlier, the prosecution in Colorado must prove only two elements (you were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and your conduct was the proximate cause of the victim’s death) in order to secure a conviction for DUI vehicular manslaughter.
Other states, meanwhile, also require the prosecution to prove that the victim’s death was the proximate result of the defendant’s reckless or negligent manner of driving. In Colorado, the fact that you were impaired by alcohol/drugs counts as the proximate cause of injury/death to others.
The term “under the influence” means that an individual’s consumption of alcohol/drugs affected them to a degree that they were substantially incapable physically and/or mentally to exercise due care, clear judgment, or sufficient physical control when operating a motor vehicle.
Civil Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The wrongful death law in Colorado allows family members of those killed by the negligent or intentional acts of others to pursue monetary compensation for their loved one’s death. As a rule of thumb, surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim if the deceased victim would have been able to recover compensation through a personal injury claim had he/she survived.
If the deceased victim has a surviving spouse, that spouse has the sole right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit within one year after the death. If there is no surviving spouse, the deceased person’s children have the sole right. If there is no spouse or children, parents can file. If no lawsuit is brought within the first year, other heirs have the right to sue.
Whether you are facing criminal charges or a civil wrongful death lawsuit for a DUI resulting in a fatality, it is important to contact an attorney who can help you challenge the prosecution’s evidence against you and fight for the most favorable outcome possible.
Contact My Firm for Professional Help
A DUI that results in someone’s death can lead to harsh penalties and life-altering consequences. If you are being accused of committing DUI resulting in a fatality, speak with an experienced attorney immediately. At Watkins Law Firm LLC, I understand the serious nature of these charges and am committed to pursuing the best possible case result for every client I represent. Get in touch today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.