In the state of Alabama, a person who is involved in a DUI accident can face a number of serious charges, especially if you injure someone or cause a death. In addition to criminal sanctions, you may also be subject to a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for the damage that you caused.
A DUI accident is a serious matter and it is very important that you take action to protect your rights. An Alabama DUI lawyer can help you to defend yourself and challenge accusations that you were intoxicated at the time of the accident or can assist you in negotiating a plea bargain that mitigates the serious nature of the charges that you face. At the Eversole Law Offices, our Birmingham Alabama DUI attorneys have helped clients throughout Madison, Jefferson and Shelby Counties and the rest of the Alabama area to successfully defend themselves after DUI accidents in order to achieve the best possible outcome.
DUI Accidents in Alabama: Charges, Penalties and Defense Considerations
DUI accidents are a common occurrence due to the dangers of drunk driving. Unfortunately, if you have been involved in a DUI accident, you not only face the standard penalties for a DUI- which can include jail time even for a first offense- but you also face additional consequences and penalties based on the fact that you caused an accident.
If your DUI accident results in the death of another driver or even a passenger in your vehicle, the consequences of your accident can be very serious. For example, under Alabama code section 32-5A-192, Alabama defines the offense of "Homicide by vehicle or vessel." This offense is defined as "unlawfully and unintentionally…" causing "…the death of another person while engaged in the violation of any state law or municipal ordinance applying to the operation or use of a vehicle, or vessel...." if "… the violation is the proximate cause of the death." Under these laws, homicide by vessel is not limited to DUI but also encompasses a boating DUI (or BUI).
The penalties for homicide by vehicle or vessel include a fine between $500 and $2,000 as well as a term of incarceration between one year and five years. A driver's license suspension will also result from a DUI accident that leads to a death.
Alabama also has other related criminal offense that you may be charged with if you are involved in a DUI that leads to an accidental death. For instance, you may be charged with criminally negligent homicide while driving under the influence. Criminally negligent homicide is defined under13A-6-4, which states that: "A person commits the crime of criminally negligent homicide if he causes the death of another person by criminal negligence."
Criminally negligent homicide is normally charged as a class A misdemeanor; however, 13A-6-4(c) stipulates that when the homicide is caused by the driver of a motor vehicle who is violating Alabama's DUI laws found in 32-5A-191, the offense is a Class C felony. This means you face a minimum of one year and a day with a maximum of ten years of incarceration.
With such serious consequences associated with a DUI accident, it is very important that you explore any possible defenses that may exist to help you avoid conviction or disprove that you were intoxicated at the time of the accident. If there are no viable defenses available to you, negotiating a plea bargain to receive the minimum sentence or even to face lesser charges can be essential to minimizing the time you spend in jail for your DUI accident.
At the Eversole Law Office, we have been able to successfully help many clients to raise defenses in a DUI accident case in order to get charges dropped or to win a not-guilty verdict. The sooner we take a case, the sooner we can begin to work with you to build evidence for a DUI defense or to negotiate a plea bargain. That's why it's important to contact Steven Eversole as soon as you know you'll face boating DUI charges in Alabama. You can call us toll-free, fill out our confidential online case evaluation form or visit our office in downtown Birmingham.