Allegations of drunk driving are serious. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest, these allegations may only be the beginning of a much bigger problem. Certain factors can contribute to increased penalties and additional criminal charges. Some factors that can trigger additional charges can include:
- Presence of a minor in the vehicle. The state could consider additional criminal charges, like child endangerment, if a child is in the vehicle at the time of the alleged offense.
- Illegal substances. If responding officers find illegal substances, they could also consider drug-related charges.
- Death of a passenger or individual in the other vehicle. The prosecution may push for manslaughter charges if anyone dies because of the accident.
The penalties can also increase if there are previous convictions on record.
How does this work in real life?
These examples are not just possibilities but realities. In a recent case, the state charged a man with involuntary manslaughter after a tragic accident. The state claims the driver drove his vehicle through a stop sign and crashed into another car. The crash injured four, including the driver. Another individual was killed.
The state charged the driver with various crimes related to the accident. The jury convicted the driver of involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action but not of the driving while intoxicated charges.
Even though one of the charges was unsuccessful, the driver still faces more than a decade imprisonment. The court sentenced the driver to ten years imprisonment for the involuntary manslaughter conviction and an additional four for the armed criminal action conviction.
What should I learn from this case?
The case provides an example of the severity of these situations. Those who understand the possibility of additional criminal charges are in a better position to advocate for their rights if stopped and accused of drunk driving. Legal representation experienced drunk driving, and related charges can review your situation and possible defense strategies.