Vehicular Homicide Charges Filed in Fatal Alabama Crash

Posted by Steven Eversole | Sep 15, 2012 | 0 Comments

A 28-year-old Alabama man is facing vehicular homicide charges, following a crash in Huntsville that claimed the life of a 48-year-old man.

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Birmingham criminal defense attorneys understand there are few things more devastating – to everyone involved – than a fatal drunk driving crash.

For the family of the deceased, of course, it means the loss of someone cherished. For the driver and their loved ones, it means the beginning of a life that will never be the same – regardless of the outcome at a criminal trial.

However, this does not necessarily mean one should automatically plead guilty, particularly when facing a charge of vehicular homicide, which is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, according to Alabama Criminal code 32-5A-192 (it could be 10 years if you are found guilty of criminally negligent homicide while driving drunk). What this statute says is that if you are engaged in an unlawful activity behind the wheel (i.e., driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs), and you unintentionally kill someone as a result, you may be found guilty of homicide.

Fines range from $500 to $2,000, and minimum incarceration is set at 1 year behind bars. This is typically filed in addition to the original DUI charge, which can carry an incarceration time of up to 1 year (unless you blew a 0.15 percent blood alcohol level or higher, in which case your time and fines would be doubled).

You will also likely lose your license for at least one year.

Alabama, with a sentencing range of between 1 to 10 years, is actually in the mid-range among other states in terms of fatal DUI penalties. For example, in Maryland, a person can serve anywhere from 0 to 5 years. In Wisconsin, it's 0 to 40 years. In Tennessee, it's 8 to 60 years. In Alaska, it's 1 to 99 years. What this shows is that there is a great deal of discretion with regard to how the sentencing could unfold. This is why you need to rely on an attorney who has extensive experience in defending DUI cases, and who has a proven record of success.

In this most recent case, the defendant was driving on Browns Ferry Road at 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday when he reportedly struck a man on a motorcycle. Authorities say he went left of center. The driver of the motorcycle was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The suspect was arrested and booked, though he posted a $25,000 bail the following day and was released while he awaits the trial.

Toxicology reports are pending, though officers do believe that a combination of alcohol and some other controlled substance were involved. This is the foundation for the vehicular homicide charge, which requires that the defendant have been recklessly engaged in conduct that creates a grave risk to a person other than himself and subsequently causes the death of someone else.

Birmingham criminal defense attorneys understand there are few things more devastating – to everyone involved – than a fatal drunk driving crash.

For the family of the deceased, of course, it means the loss of someone cherished. For the driver and their loved ones, it means the beginning of a life that will never be the same – regardless of the outcome at a criminal trial.

However, this does not necessarily mean one should automatically plead guilty, particularly when facing a charge of vehicular homicide, which is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, according to Alabama Criminal code 32-5A-192 (it could be 10 years if you are found guilty of criminally negligent homicide while driving drunk).

What this statute says is that if you are engaged in an unlawful activity behind the wheel (i.e., driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs), and you unintentionally kill someone as a result, you may be found guilty of homicide.

Fines range from $500 to $2,000, and minimum incarceration is set at 1 year behind bars.

This is typically filed in addition to the original DUI charge, which can carry an incarceration time of up to 1 year (unless you blew a 0.15 percent blood alcohol level or higher, in which case your time and fines would be doubled).

You will also likely lose your license for at least one year.

Alabama, with a sentencing range of between 1 to 10 years, is actually in the mid-range among other states in terms of fatal DUI penalties. For example, in Maryland, a person can serve anywhere from 0 to 5 years. In Wisconsin, it's 0 to 40 years. In Tennessee, it's 8 to 60 years. In Alaska, it's 1 to 99 years.

What this shows is that there is a great deal of discretion with regard to how the sentencing could unfold. This is why you need to rely on an attorney who has extensive experience in defending DUI cases, and who has a proven record of success.

In this most recent case, the defendant was driving on Browns Ferry Road at 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday when he reportedly struck a man on a motorcycle. Authorities say he went left of center. The driver of the motorcycle was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The suspect was arrested and booked, though he posted a $25,000 bail the following day and was released while he awaits the trial.

Toxicology reports are pending, though officers do believe that a combination of alcohol and some other controlled substance were involved. This is the foundation for the vehicular homicide charge, which requires that the defendant have been recklessly engaged in conduct that creates a grave risk to a person other than himself and subsequently causes the death of someone else.

Those facing these situations often end up resolving the case through a plea bargain, which often allows them reduced jail time and other penalties in exchange for a guilty plea.


If you have been arrested for DUI in Birmingham, call Defense Lawyer Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

Additional Resources:
Man accused of DUI after fatal crash, By Jean Cole, The News Courier

More Blog Entries:
September the Start of Ignition Interlock for Alabama DUI, Aug. 30, 2012, Birmingham DUI Lawyer Blog

About the Author

Steven Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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