Can You Be Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter if You’re Drinking and Driving?

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Can You Be Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter if You’re Drinking and Driving?
Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter for Drinking and Driving

When people hear the word manslaughter, they get scared. They envision spending the rest of their lives in prison. This is for good reason. If you’re convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Georgia, you will spend several years in prison.

Georgia considers the killing of another person homicide. It doesn’t matter whether you did it on purpose or not. If someone dies, it’s a homicide. Of course, there are different types of homicide.

One type of homicide is called manslaughter. And, a type of manslaughter is involuntary manslaughter. This is when someone kills someone while they’re in the middle of doing something legal – they’re just doing it in an illegal fashion. DUI falls under this category.

If you’re charged with involuntary manslaughter in Atlanta, you’re going to need an Atlanta DUI lawyer. You’ll be facing fines and several years in prison. It’s definitely not something you want to handle on your own.

What is Involuntary Manslaughter?

Under Georgia law, involuntary manslaughter is defined as:

  • An unintentional killing of another person resulting from recklessness or criminal negligence, OR from an unlawful act that’s a misdemeanor or low-level felony (such as a DUI)

There are two (2) types of involuntary manslaughter – first degree and second degree. The is determined by whether the crime is a felony or a misdemeanor.

First-degree manslaughter is considered a felony and is punishable by anywhere from 3-15 years in prison. If someone is killed during any of the following crimes, it will be considered a felony:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Passing or overtaking a school bus
  • Fleeing or trying to escape from law enforcement
  • Hit and run
  • Reckless driving

It will be a felony whether you’re convicted of a DUI per se or a DUI less safe.

For all other traffic violations, you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor. This means that, if someone dies while you’re committing the following violations, you’ll be charged with 2nd-degree involuntary manslaughter:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Failing to stop at a stop sign
  • Failure to yield
  • Shifting lanes improperly
  • Running a red light

But, even if you’re convicted of a misdemeanor, you’re still facing up to several years in prison. This is why you’ll want an experienced DUI lawyer in Atlanta by your side.

Habitual Violators Face Even Harsher Penalties

If you’re a habitual violator and kill someone while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the penalties are much more severe. The law treats habitual offenders more harshly than they do anyone else.

In order to become a habitual violator in Atlanta, you need to have at least 3 serious traffic offenses within the past 5 years. Serious traffic offenses include the following:

  • DUI
  • Reckless driving
  • Fleeing the police
  • Hit and run
  • Vehicular homicide

If you’re a habitual violator and you’re convicted of felony involuntary manslaughter, you’ll face up to 20 years in prison.

Any habitual violator charged with a DUI or other serious crime needs an experienced DUI lawyer in Georgia to handle their case. The penalties for habitual violators are quite severe. Your attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss your charges.

How Can an Atlanta DUI Lawyer Help?

If you’ve been charged with involuntary manslaughter in Georgia, you’re going to need an attorney. You should never represent yourself when you’re facing serious jail time. Having a lawyer can make the difference between spending a decade in prison or having freedom.

Your Atlanta DUI lawyer will review your case and see how strong the prosecutor’s evidence really is. They’ll also meet with the prosecutor on your behalf and try to get the charges dismissed. In order to do this, they’ll have to demonstrate one of the following things:

  • You weren’t guilty of the underlying DUI offense
  • The accident isn’t what killed the victim
  • It’s a case of mistaken identity (if it involves a hit and runs)
  • You weren’t drunk
  • Evidence was obtained unlawfully

If they can show any of these things, they may be able to convince the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss the charges altogether.

Contact a DUI Lawyer in Atlanta Today

If you’re facing homicide charges due to your DUI, you need to call and speak with a DUI lawyer in Atlanta. Your attorney can go to bat for you. They will try to get the charges dismissed or reduced.

Call today and schedule your initial consultation. Manslaughter charges are not something you want to face alone. Let an experienced defense attorney help you.

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