Underage Driver Faces DUI & Involuntary Manslaughter Charges in Virginia
In the aftermath of a fatal accident, Virginia police officers arrested a 20-year-old man from Unionville for driving under the influence (DUI) and involuntary manslaughter, reported ABC affiliate WHSV.
The car accident in question occurred at approximately 2 a.m. on Sunday, December 23rd. The Unionville man was traveling south on Constitution Highway when he crossed over the median and into oncoming traffic.
Initial reports from the Virginia State Police suggest that the Unionville man side-swiped another vehicle. Then his vehicle smashed into and landed on top of a smaller sedan. As a result of this accident, one person died. Four other people sustained serious physical injury, including two children.
Surprisingly, the Unionville man did not sustain any serious injuries in the crash. But given his role in causing this incident, the authorities arrested him for DUI and involuntary manslaughter. While the Unionville man awaits his day in court, it seems like a solid opportunity to review Virginia laws concerning DUI and involuntary manslaughter.
Virginia Laws for DUI
As outlined in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-266, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any combination of those intoxicants. If the driver is impaired and incapable of safe driving, then it qualifies as DUI under Virginia law. In terms of alcohol, specifically, Section 18.2-266 makes it unlawful to operate a vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more.
The penalties for DUI appear in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270. In most cases, this offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. The typical punishment for a Class 1 felony includes up to 12 months in jail and criminal fines up to $2,500.
That being said, Section 18.2-270 tacks on additional penalties for DUI offenses committed under certain circumstances. For example, there are often mandatory incarceration sentences for repeat offenders and drivers with register high BAC levels.
Virginia Laws for Involuntary Manslaughter
As detailed in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-36.1, involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person drives drunk and kills someone else. There are two elements to this offense. To qualify as involuntary manslaughter, the driver must:
- Commit a DUI under Section 18.2-266 or a substantially similar ordinance; and
- Unintentionally cause the death of another person.
The penalties for involuntary manslaughter appear in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-36. In most cases, this offense is a Class 5 felony in Virginia. The typical punishment for a Class 5 felony includes one to 10 years in prison and criminal fines up to $2,500. Additionally, a conviction for involuntary manslaughter results in driver’s license revocation.
Let Us Help You Today
If you have legal questions about DUI or involuntary manslaughter in Virginia, it is advantageous to consult with a proficient criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, have demonstrated proficiencies with various criminal defense matters across Virginia, including DUI and involuntary manslaughter. If you need criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.