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Understanding DUI manslaughter and murder charges

It is well-known that driving after having consumed alcohol is never a good idea. It is illegal and this is for good reason. Alcohol affects your response time and can encourage reckless behavior; therefore, drinking and driving endangers you and the people around you.

It can also have tragic consequences, and in this case, the person that was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol can be charged with manslaughter or even murder.

Establishing liability

If you have been driving under the influence of alcohol and you were involved in a car crash where a person was killed as a result, you might worry that you will automatically be charged with murder or manslaughter. However, there will be much more investigation into the specifics of the case before a judgment like this is determined. Just because you were under the influence of alcohol and happened to be involved in a crash, does not mean that you were responsible for the crash, for example.

Understanding ordinary negligence and gross negligence

Ordinary negligence is determined as an action that was irresponsible. For example, looking at a phone very briefly while driving is dangerous, but is an action that was not reckless in nature. Gross negligence is reckless behavior such as excessive speeding or driving on a sidewalk. Both actions, however, can incur a manslaughter charge if it is proved that such actions led to a person's death.

If it can be proven that a person acted with a disregard for human life, he or she may be charged with DUI murder. If you have been involved in a car accident where you were found to be under the influence of alcohol, an experienced attorney can help you develop a strong defense strategy.

Source: Findlaw, "DUI manslaughter," accessed Nov. 03, 2017

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