Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to DUI & Involuntary Manslaughter
A Virginia man pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence (DUI) in connection with a fatal accident last year, according to an article by the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
The accident in question occurred on the morning of January 4, 2019, near the intersection of Morrisonville and Mountain roads. The Virginia man apparently lost control of his vehicle, swerved off the road, struck a 60-year-old woman, and crashed into a tree.
The victim sustained severe injuries and died at the scene of the accident. The driver survived with minor injuries. After his arrest and legal proceedings, the Virginia man recently pleaded guilty to charges for DUI and involuntary manslaughter.
At this point, the Virginia man awaits his sentencing hearing on June 29th. In the meantime, it seems like a good time to review Virginia laws concerning DUI and involuntary manslaughter.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-266 makes it illegal to drive or operate vehicles while intoxicated. It does not matter if the driver consumed alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. If they become impaired and lose the ability to operate their vehicle in a safe fashion, it qualifies as a DUI under Virginia law.
Any person convicted for DUI faces the penalties established in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270. The punishment for this offense can change based on various factors, such as level of intoxication or whether the driver was transporting a minor. But in general, Section 18.2-270 provides the following penalties for DUI offenses:
- First Offense – Class 1 misdemeanor, with a mandatory minimum of $250 in fines;
- Second Offense – Class 1 misdemeanor, with a mandatory minimum of $500 in fines and 10 to 20 days in jail;
- Third Offense – Class 6 felony, with a mandatory minimum of $1,000 in fines and 90 days to 6 months in jail; or
- Fourth or Subsequent Offense – Class 6 felony, with a mandatory minimum of $1,000 in fines and 12 months in jail.
Furthermore, DUI offenders are subject to a period of driver’s license suspension under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-271. First-time offenders can face a maximum suspension period of 12 months. Repeat offenders can face a maximum suspension period of 36 months.
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-36.1 makes it unlawful to drive under the influence and cause a fatality at the same time. This is referred to as involuntary manslaughter, under Virginia law. Additionally, if the driver demonstrates severely reckless conduct – or extreme disregard for human life – charges for aggravated involuntary manslaughter could be appropriate.
Any person who commits involuntary manslaughter is guilty of a Class 5 felony under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-36. A conviction can result in a maximum sentence of $2,500 in fines and 10 years in prison. Charges for aggravated involuntary manslaughter have an upper limit of 20 years in prison.
Finally, any person who commits involuntary manslaughter is also subject to a period of driver’s license suspension under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-391. The suspension period typically has a maximum length of 36 months.
Let Us Help You Today
If you need legal help with criminal charges for DUI or involuntary manslaughter in Virginia, it can be incredibly valuable to consult with an accomplished criminal defense attorney. The Virginia DUI defense attorneys at Simms Showers LLP feature proven skill and results in the field of criminal defense, including DUI and involuntary manslaughter. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.