Washington is among the nation's top states for DUI offenders. Strategies to reduce the number of deaths on Washington roads have become a cornerstone for harsher penalties. In those accidents where a death occurs, a driver's life can change in an instant right along with the family of the person who was killed. The pain and shock are powerfully difficult and having an experienced adviser at that moment and throughout the weeks and months ahead is vitally important.
What to Do When a Death Results from a DUI Accident
First, few people plan to be involved in a DUI accident that results in a death. The first thing to know is not to give any statements to law enforcement without having your attorney present. The penalties for DUI when a death occurs are the toughest. You could be charged with second-degree murder when aggravating factors are present. These offenses are charged as felonies and could lead to prison time.
Your attorney can help you put together an aggressive defense strategy. You and your criminal defense team will work together to prepare initial parts of the strategy that will likely include the following.
- Collecting all police reports, including the accident report.
- Speaking to witnesses and getting their written statements.
- Making sure to preserve the scene and collect evidence.
- Seek and retain reenactment experts to comment on causation.
- Inspect all vehicles involved.
- Getting any data recording devices from vehicles.
- Assess the possibility of counseling and alcohol testing.
- Request independent blood testing.
Prosecution Must Prove Your Case First – You Must Plan Your Defense
Your DUI Death case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors will work hard to prove their case. Your attorney will determine every angle to work. There are three major parts that the prosecutor must prove whenever a drunk driver is involved in an accident causing an injury or a death.
First, the injury--will it qualify as a serious injury? Will the person's life be limited afterward? Second, did the accused cause the injuries or death? Causation is a key part of crimes while operating a vehicle intoxicated or impaired. Often experts are needed to sort this out. A reconstruction of the accident or a testimony regarding the vehicles speed or interpretation of any other evidence collected at the scene may be required.
Finally, the intoxication. Was the defendant under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Were there drugs prescribed or were illegal drugs involved? If tests were administered, who performed the tests? Any tests, including blood testing, must be subject to the rigid standards of care. Any of these could be shown to be weak during the trial.
Defending drunken driving charges when a death or an injury occurred calls for an experienced, aggressive Washington DUI attorney. Steve Karimi can help you plan your approach and preserve your rights. Call today to schedule your appointment.