Drunk Driver Pleads Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter in Virginia
A drunk driver from Sterling, Virginia recently pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and other criminal charges after causing a fatal accident, according to an article by the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
This fatal car accident dates back to February 20, 2017. On that date, the driver from Sterling was on his way home from a party with three passengers. While traveling on Route 28, the driver was speeding allowed the vehicle to stray from marked traffic lanes. Then the vehicle smashed into the concrete median.
After the vehicle collided with the median, the driver overcorrected while traveling at high speed. The resulting force caused the vehicle to roll over, which also expelled two of the passengers from the cabin.
When the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office responded to this accident, they found one of the passengers lying in the middle of the road. Although that passenger was alive when law enforcement arrived, she died at the scene shortly thereafter.
Upon further investigation at the scene, law enforcement observed that the driver had bloodshot eyes and unsteady balance. He was also emitting a heavy odor of alcohol. After an official test, law enforcement determined that the driver had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.14, exceeding the legal limit of 0.08.
After pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and the other criminal charges, this drunk driver remains in custody at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 19th.
Until the sentencing hearing, the exact punishment for this crime will remain unknown. In the meantime, it seems appropriate to review Virginia laws against and penalties for standard and aggravated involuntary manslaughter.
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-36.1 provides the definition of involuntary manslaughter. There are two elements to this offense. The offender must:
- Commit DUI or a substantially similar offense; and
- Cause the death of someone else, unintentionally.
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-36 governs the penalties for involuntary manslaughter. Under this section, involuntary manslaughter is a Class 5 felony, punishable by one to 10 years in prison and $2,500 in criminal fines. Furthermore, a conviction for involuntary manslaughter also includes mandatory revocation of driving privileges.
Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter
Section 18.2-36.1 also outlines the definition of and penalties for aggravated involuntary manslaughter. If a person commits involuntary manslaughter in a way that demonstrates a reckless disregard for human life, they will face criminal charges for aggravated involuntary manslaughter.
Under this section, aggravated involuntary manslaughter is a felony crime that is punishable by one to 20 years in prison. The mandatory minimum prison sentence for this offense is at least one year. Additionally, a conviction for aggravated involuntary manslaughter also includes mandatory revocation of driving privileges.
Let us Help You Today
If you need legal help with charges for DUI or either version of involuntary manslaughter in Virginia, it can be tremendously valuable to consult with an adept criminal defense attorney. The Leesburg drunk driving attorneys at Simms Showers LLP have proven capabilities in the field of criminal defense in Virginia, including DUI and both versions of involuntary manslaughter. If you need legal assistance with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.