A woman from southern Alabama is facing DUI and vehicular homicide charges, following a fatal crash in Gulf Shores that resulted in the death of a 64-year-old female pedestrian.
Our Birmingham DUI defense lawyers understand that while the facts of this case haven't all been released, we know that the alleged victim was crossing a busy intersection when she was struck by a Ford pickup truck driven by the 52-year-old female suspect.
Officers arrived at the scene to find the pedestrian in critical condition, the alleged suspect nearby. The pedestrian was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.
Investigators say that preliminary evidence suggests that the driver of that truck was under the influence of alcohol. However, we don't know what that evidence is, so we can't speculate on the strength or weakness of it. All we can say is that anytime a person is injured or killed in connection with a DUI, the case against the defendant becomes substantially more involved, both in terms of the resources that law enforcement will pour into it, as well as what you should expect from your defense team.
Alabama Code 32-5A-192 holds that if you unlawfully and unintentionally cause the death of another person while engaged in violation of any state or local law where that violation is the cause of death, you can be found guilty of homicide by vehicle. Punishment is a fine of between $500 and $2,000 and imprisonment may range from one to five years behind bars.
If you are charged with criminally negligent homicide while driving under the influence, you will face a fine of up to $15,000 and anywhere from 1 year and 1 day in prison, up to a possible 10-year sentence.
This means that the question of whether you were DUI can result in an extra five years in prison, which is why defense lawyers in these cases spend a lot of time working to disprove this issue. We'll work to challenge the negative outcome of any field sobriety tests, which tend to be highly subjective. We'll also explore the possibility of challenging any breathalyzer test results that did not return results in your favor. These machines have been repeatedly found to produced results that are skewed higher than one's actual blood-alcohol content, and issues of proper maintenance and calibration can sometimes come into play.
Blood samples are another piece of evidence we would also work aggressively to challenge. While potentially more difficult than the other two to overcome, it's certainly not impossible. A number of DUI labs across the country have come under fire for less-than-stellar lab practices that left samples vulnerable to contamination or improper interpretation.
Even in cases where we might not be able to prove you were innocent of DUI, we will work to show that your actions were not the cause of the person's death. Again, while we don't know the facts of this case, it could be a relevant factor if the pedestrian in this situation was improperly crossing the road or herself may have been intoxicated. We don't know, and every case is different, but with so much at stake in these situations, every scenario is worth exploring.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Birmingham, call Defense Lawyer Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.
Gulf Shores police charge Satsuma woman with DUI in accident that killed pedestrian, July 8, 2013, By Marc D. Anderson, AL.com
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Drug Recognition Experts' Judgment Not an Exact Science, June 29, 2013, Birmingham DUI Defense Attorney Blog