It is very sad that incidents with drunk drivers are responsible for death every two minutes in the United States alone. While various states have different death rates, this is still a serious issue. When someone is killed in a DUI accident, the drunk driver not only faces DUI charges, but also charges for second degree murder and even first degree murder.
What is the Difference Between First and Second Degree?
When murder is implicated as a charge for a DUI, it can be from deaths at the accident site or later death resulting from injuries in the crash. A second degree dui murder charge means that the accused driver killed a person inadvertently via intoxication and driving. This is actually the most common outcome for first offenders.
First degree murder means that the drunk driver is determined to have deliberately killed a person. This would be an aggravated act. However, it does not have to be deliberate. Repeat DUI offenders driving around against their restrictions or while on probation often face first degree murder charges if there is a death involved.
What Are the Penalties?
In some cases, proper legal representation from professional DUI attorneys could get a person off the charges in the first place or at least push for lesser penalties. In all likelihood, jail time is going to be involved. The amount of time spent in jail. Both involuntary manslaughter and murder will result in jail time. For first degree felony murder, much more sever punishments are incurred.
In addition to serving time in jail and paying fines, the court may require the defender to make restitution payments to the family of the deceased. It is a demonstration of regret and legal responsibility. Again, this needs to be mediated by a qualified attorney.