DUI manslaughter is a felony offense. A person may be charged with this
crime if he or she kills another person while operating a motor
Definition of Motor Vehicle
A motor vehicle is a car, truck, motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle (ATV)
or a motorized scooter. A boat powered by an engine is also considered
a motor vehicle.
Definition of DUI
DUI means "Driving Under the Influence." While many people may consider
that someone who is under the influence has been consuming alcohol,
this is not necessarily the case. An individual who has taken drugs
(either prescription medications or street drugs) and is impaired from
operating it safely can still be charged with a DUI offense.
The crime of manslaughter occurs when an individual is responsible for
causing the death of another person, through carelessness or
negligence. It is different from murder, since manslaughter does not
include the element of premeditation. Manslaughter charges may be laid
if the death occurs in the heat of the moment, such as in a crime of
passion, or due to the perpetrator's recklessness or lack of judgment.
In a situation where a driver kills someone while under the influence
of alcohol and/or a drug, he or she may be charged with DUI
manslaughter. A death must have occurred for this charge to apply.
Where the impaired driver caused non-fatal injuries, he or she could be
charged with a less serious offense, such as reckless driving.
Ordinary Negligence and Gross
DUI, or vehicular, manslaughter with ordinary negligence describes a
situation where the driver failed to use reasonable care to prevent the
accident or the fatality. In a case of vehicular manslaughter with
gross negligence, the driver is accused of driving in an extremely
Penalty for DUI Manslaughter
The penalties for DUI manslaughter depend on the jurisdiction. In cases
involving ordinary negligence, the accused could be sentenced to up to
four years in prison for each person killed in the accident. Cases of
gross negligence are treated more harshly, with individuals being sent
to prison for a minimum of 10 years for each person they killed.
A person who is caught driving under the influence and who kills
someone may be charged with DUI murder in some cases. The difference
between the two crimes involves whether the accused displayed a
"reckless indifference to the loss of human life."
Example of DUI Murder
A person who has been arrested on at least one prior occasion for a DUI
offense who continues to drink and drive, resulting in another person's
death, may be charged with DUI murder. Under the circumstances,
prosecutors can argue that the accused person's actions indicated that
he or she understood that drinking and driving was dangerous, but chose
to ignore that fact and do it anyway.
Penalty for DUI Murder
In a jurisdiction where an individual can be charged with DUI murder,
the penalty imposed on conviction can be severe. Under California law,
a person convicted of this offense could be sentenced to life in prison.