Virginia Woman Pleads Guilty To DUI & Involuntary Manslaughter
A Virginia woman recently pleaded guilty to driving under the influence (DUI) and involuntary manslaughter after causing a fatal accident in 2020, according to an article by WJHL.
This incident occurred on September 23, 2020, at approximately 8 p.m. in Wise County. The Virginia woman was driving drunk on U.S. Highway 23 and crashed into another passenger vehicle. As a result of the accident, the driver of the other vehicle died from their injuries.
Based on the facts of the case, local authorities charged the Virginia woman with DUI and aggravated involuntary manslaughter. Although this woman recently entered a guilty plea, a judge still needs to determine the appropriate sentence.
In the meantime, it seems like a suitable opportunity to review the Virginia statutes that criminalize DUI and regular and aggravated involuntary manslaughter.
Virginia Punishment for DUI
The state laws against DUI appear at Code of Virginia Section 18.2-266. Under this section, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of substances.
The state punishment for DUI appears at Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270. Under this section, DUI penalties vary based on numerous factors, such as the number of previous offenses or the driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC).
That being said, DUI offenders in Virginia can typically expect to face the penalties detailed below:
- First Offense — Class 1 misdemeanor with a minimum criminal fine of $250 and, in certain cases, mandatory confinement for five to 10 days;
- Second Offense (within five to 10 years) — Class 1 misdemeanor with a minimum criminal fine of $500 and mandatory confinement for 10 to 20 days;
- Third Offense (within five to 10 years) — Class 6 felony with a minimum criminal fine of $1,000 and mandatory confinement for 90 days to six months; or
- Fourth or Subsequent Offense (within 10 years) — Class 6 felony with a minimum criminal fine of $1,000 and mandatory confinement 12 months.
Beyond the criminal penalties described above, DUI offenses are also subject to mandatory suspension of driving privileges under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-271. The timeline for this requirement fluctuates, as outlined below:
- First Offense — Driver’s license suspension for 12 months;
- Second Offense (within 10 years) — Driver’s license revocation for 36 months; or
- Third or Subsequent Offense (within 10 years) — Permanent driver’s license revocation.
Virginia Punishment for Involuntary Manslaughter
The state laws against involuntary manslaughter appear at Code of Virginia Section 18.2-51.4. Under this section, it is illegal to commit DUI and unintentionally cause the death of a victim. If, however, the offender’s conduct indicates a reckless disregard for human life, then aggravated involuntary manslaughter charges are appropriate.
Any person who commits involuntary manslaughter is guilty of a Class 5 felony. The punishment can include imprisonment for one to 10 years, criminal fines, and permanent revocation of driving privileges.
Any person who commits aggravated involuntary manslaughter is guilty of an unspecified class of felony. The punishment can include imprisonment for one to 20 years, criminal fines, and permanent revocation of driving privileges.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have legal questions about DUI or involuntary manslaughter in Virginia, it is important to contact a Virginia DUI defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP are prepared to help you today.