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String of DUI-Related Events May Result in Serious Jail Time

May 24, 2016 • DUI Defense

Recently, a man was charged with vehicular homicide in connection with the death of a police officer.  According to the New York Post, the driver was charged because of a DUI accident.

While those who cause fatalities while driving drunk can face serious criminal charges, this case is unique because the man who is facing prison time wasn't actually driving his car at the time the law enforcement officer was killed.

The complex case shows just how far prosecutors are willing to go to try to crack down on people who were allegedly impaired behind the wheel, especially in situations where collisions cause injuries or fatalities.

Anyone who has been charged with an offense in connection with drunk driving needs to get proper legal assistance. If an accident happened while allegedly impaired, the stakes are much higher because the penalties can be much more severe.

You should consult with a Valdosta DUI lawyer as soon as possible if you've been accused of involvement in a drunk driving crash so you can develop the strongest defense strategy possible.

Jail Time for Deadly DUI Accidents

The man being charged with vehicular homicide is facing jail time because his impaired driving allegedly set in motion a series of events that was the direct cause of the death of a police officer. 

The incident began when the man's Toyota hit a BMW on the expressway.  The man is a 28-year-old part-time student and had been reportedly drinking at a bar before his car hit the BMW. When his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was tested at the time of the accident, his BAC registered at .13 percent, which is over the .08 percent limit.

After hitting the BMW, the man's Toyota stopped a little farther down the road in a high occupancy lane, where it was hit by a car.  A law enforcement officer came to the scene of the accident to investigate these two incidents.

Tragically, while the Toyota was stopped sideways in the center lane and the 28-year-old alleged drunk driver was leaning against the guardrail, an oncoming SUV approached. The driver of the SUV didn't see the Toyota and smashed into the car, which killed the police officer who had responded to investigate the crashes.

The 28-year-old student is now facing up to 25 years of imprisonment based on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, driving while intoxicated and other charges. The charges are based on the legal theory of foreseeability, which, in essence, means the man should have been aware his actions could result in a death and the death of the police officer was a foreseeable result of the man's drunk driving. 

Initially, a state judge dismissed the charges because the death of the officer was found to be solely attributable to the driver of the SUV. The prosecutor appealed, however, and a state appeals court reinstated the charges because it was “reasonably foreseeable that the defendant’s conduct would cause collisions and that the police would respond and be required to be in the roadway, where they would be exposed to the potentially lethal danger presented by fast-moving traffic.”

Cases like this show an expansion of situations where prosecutors could go after drunk drivers, as charges could potentially be filed any time a chain of events allegedly results in a crash.

As the scope of potential situations where charges against alleged drunk drivers expands, it becomes more important than ever for motorists to get help from a knowledgeable drunk driving lawyer if they are potentially facing criminal prosecution.