When DWI Accidents Turn Fatal

In all 50 states it is against the law for an adult over the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher; therefore, drivers are considered to be alcohol-impaired when their BAC registers at .08% or higher. Thus, whenever there is a fatal crash involving a driver with a BAC of .08% or greater, it is considered to be an alcohol-impaired driving collision.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that in 2011, 9,878 people were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes. These alcohol-impaired collisions accounted for a whopping 31% of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States. In 2011, there was an average of one alcohol-impaired fatality every 53 minutes and in that same year, a total of 1,140 children age 14 or younger were killed in motor vehicle collisions. Of those fatalities, 181 (16%) were children who were being driven by a driver with a BAC of .08% or higher and another 25 children were either pedestrians or bicyclists that were struck by drunk drivers.

In New York when a driver causes death to another person as result of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or the combination thereof, he or she can be found guilty of vehicular manslaughter in the second degree which is covered under § 125.12 of the New York State Penal Law. In New York, vehicular manslaughter is the second degree is a Class D felony offense which can involve up to 7 years in prison and a maximum $5,000 fine.

If the driver has a BAC of 0.18% or greater, then they are guilty of vehicular manslaughter in the first degree which is a Class C felony offense. With a Class C felony, the defendant faces up to 15 years in prison and a maximum $15,000 fine.

While it's common knowledge that driving under the influence of alcohol is a bad idea and against the law, thousands of people across the United States drink and drive every day. Perhaps the most difficult part is that it's nearly impossible to know just how much alcohol will tip one over the .08% threshold. It's an American pastime to have a glass of wine at dinner, or a few drinks while watching the football game, but most people don't know exactly how much time it takes for their body to burn off the alcohol in their system. Unfortunately, when someone drinks and subsequently gets involved in a fatal car accident shortly thereafter, they can face vehicular manslaughter charges.

In cases such as these, normal law abiding citizens with a good job and more importantly, with a family depending on them can become entangled with the wrong side of the law. When this happens they face going to prison for up to 15 years and paying thousands of dollars in fines. How would your life be affected if you had to go to prison for up to 15 years? When such individuals have a spouse or children back home, the circumstances are especially worrisome and serious. While there is no excuse for drunk driving and taking someone else's life, it's still important to protect your family and your future in the event a momentary lapse in judgment results in a fatal DWI accident.

If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter in the first or second degree, you are facing felony charges and you would greatly benefit from hiring Rockland County DWI attorney Brian Berkowitz. As a former Senior Assistant District Attorney who was in charge of the office's DWI bureau, you can be rest assured that attorney Berkowitz understands all the technical and scientific aspects of your case. With his knowledge and experience he can develop a comprehensive defense strategy that will be aimed at helping you reach the most favorable outcome possible considering the circumstances of your case.

Contact the firm today to find out what types of defense tactics might help your case dramatically!


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