In conducting an investigative search on a DUI Accident Case I am currently working on I came across the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website that discusses the effects and consequences of driving while drunk or while impaired. It is sobering information no matter how you look at it. One particular section of interest, Vehicular Homicide and the Impaired Driver, discuses the facts and/or fictions associated with DUI accidents and the ramifications can result if you are involved an auto accident as a result of drinking.
FICTION: An impaired driver who kills someone cannot be charged with murder.
FACT: The only difference between a vehicular homicide and other homicides is the use of a motor vehicle as a weapon, as opposed to a gun or knife. This does not change in any way the elements required to be proved for murder. As long as the elements for murder can be proved, a vehicular homicide defendant can be tried for murder just like someone who uses a gun.
FICTION: Impaired drivers can use the excuse that they were too drunk to know what they were doing.
FACT: Impairment due to alcohol or other drugs is never a complete defense for any crime. But it can be used as a partial defense. This occurs if the defendant is charged with murder or voluntary manslaughter and the defendant’s impairment level is so high that it affects the defendant’s intent to kill. When this happens, murder and voluntary manslaughter are only mitigated to a lesser crime, like involuntary manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide. However, this is a rare occurrence and no court has ever established an impairment level at which this happens.
There is a simple way to avoid these necessary and harsh realties-Do NOT drink and drive. It is not worth it. If not for your own sake, think for a moment of others whose lives are endangered each time someone does.
A partner with Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC,, Brandon Smith has devoted his practice to pharmaceutical litigation, mass torts, products liability and serious personal injury. A frequent guest speaker at legal seminars all over the country—Brandon is focused on helping injured victims nationwide, however possible. Named a SuperLawyer again in 2019, he has also been called out as one of 10 Best Attorneys For Georgia by the American Institute Of Personal Injury Attorneys and a Top 100 Lawyer in Georgia by the National Trial Lawyers in 2019.