Virginia Man Facing Serious Jail Time after DUI Manslaughter Conviction
A jury recently recommended an 11-year sentence for a Virginia man after he was convicted of DUI-related homicide. The conviction, for aggravated involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident, came after Dwayne Gray Miller plowed his SUV into the side of a tow truck, pinning its driver between the tow truck and the vehicle he was assisting. He was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .18, more than twice the legal limit. The jury’s recommended sentence is broken down as nine years for the homicide and two years for fleeing the scene.
Due to the hit and run nature of the incident, the major factual issues at trial revolved around causation. Mr. Miller’s defense put forth a theory that the victim had already been hit by another car and was lying dead in the road when the defendant ran him over. The jury did not accept that story, however, as evidence showed the defendant’s car took impact at points higher than would be expected on the defense’s theory.
DUI homicides are extremely serious charges, and a conviction on these charges almost always results in prison time. Because of the known dangers associated with driving under the influence of alcohol, DUI manslaughter is one of the most aggressively prosecuted crimes in the penal system today. Prosecutors, judges, and juries are very unlikely to feel any sympathy for a person charged with such a crime, and prosecutors will often overcharge with greater offenses such as second degree murder in order to force a defendant to go to trial, even when many defendants would rather plead guilty to manslaughter. The practice of charging DUI homicides as murders, though legally meritless except in extreme cases, is becoming an increasingly popular tactic among prosecutors for the strategic leverage it provides them over defendants. Though the required proof of intent is almost always lacking, this hasn’t stopped overzealous and unscrupulous prosecutors from attempting to advance their careers by utilizing such tactics. However, that does not appear to be what happened in this situation. In this case, the jury convicted a man who they believed was attempting to avoid responsibility for his crime, and in so doing, he made it worse.
Fleeing an Accident
If you are in a collision—even while drunk—you stand to lose more by fleeing the scene than you stand to gain. The odds of getting away with a hit and run are incredibly small. Police are very good at catching hit and run drivers, and even the most skilled attorney will have a difficult time attempting to explain away the evidence. Regardless of the potential consequences of an accident, they almost always become worse when the driver flees the scene. Even if you are certain to get arrested when the police arrive, establishing a willingness to take responsibility is critical to the credibility of your legal defense.
Contact an Attorney if you are Involved in a Fatal Accident
Just because it is advisable not to flee the scene of an accident does not mean you should admit fault or even necessarily talk to the police. Whether you are drunk or sober, and whether you are at fault or not, involvement in a fatal accident almost always carries potentially serious legal consequences—if not criminal, civil litigation is still very likely. In any event, if you are involved in a serious accident where another person is injured or killed, you need the best legal representation you can get to protect you from the overreach of the government’s prosecutors. Do not trust in the compassion of the government’s attorneys. Contact the skilled Leesburg criminal defense attorneys at Simms Showers today. We will fight to protect your rights.