What Are the Penalties for a DUI Leading to Death in Arizona?
Drunk driving is a serious criminal offense, especially if it leads to an accident, injury or fatality. Arizona is one of four states that do not have specific legislation for DUIs causing death. Since there is no law for DUIs leading to death, prosecutors will pursue a conviction under more general statutes that involve homicide. In Arizona, most fatal DUIs fall into one of three categories:
- Negligent homicide
- Second-degree murder
If you or someone you love was arrested for a serious DUI offense, our law firm can help you avoid the consequences of a conviction. Speak with a member of our legal team today for a consultation regarding your case.
Negligent homicide involves the concept of "criminal negligence." To obtain a conviction, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant committed an act of criminal negligence that led to the victim's death. Criminal negligence can include acts of carelessness or willful neglect. In short, criminal negligence ignores the individual's legal duty to protect other people from avoidable harm.
While criminal negligence is a critical component to negligent homicide cases, recklessness is the crux of most manslaughter cases. In order to prove that the driver committed manslaughter, the prosecution is obligated to demonstrate "recklessness." Manslaughter occurs when an individual knowingly commits a deadly crime without intending to cause a fatality. Drunk driving could easily fall into this category.
Second-degree murder is a Class 1 felony punishable by 10 to 22 years in prison. According to Arizona law, second-degree murder occurs when an individual commits an act knowing that it would lead to the death of another person, but without premeditation. Second-degree murder is usually connected to extreme DUI or super extreme DUI.
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