Involuntary manslaughter is a complex topic on its own; when alcohol enters the picture, the situation becomes all the more complex. In Virginia, manslaughter is defined as the killing of one human being by another, but without intention or premeditation. It is important to know what is at stake in the case of an intoxicated manslaughter.
Many do not think twice about driving after a drink or two. Yet Findlaw confirms that a death occuring from driving under the influence by any means could produce an involuntary manslaughter charge. And while the courts can acquit someone found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, the victim’s family may still choose to file a wrongful death claim in civil court. Findlaw goes on to clarify that most wrongful death claims follow criminal trials, which often use similar evidence but with lower standards of proof. There is an additional set of penalties that can apply to an individual’s involuntary manslaughter charges, including imprisonment of no less than one year but no more than ten years or confinement in jail for no more than 12 months. Other factors include disregard for life of others, wherein an individual involuntarily kills another while driving with exceptionally high blood alcohol content.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide the public with brief statistics on drunk driving and the dangers involved, showing that between the years 2003 and 2012, 2,613 people died as a result of alcohol-related crashes in Virginia. The highest rates of deaths by age are currently between 21 and 34 years, with males accounting for more drunk driving crashes than females. The CDC does confirm the uplifting news, however, that rates of drunk driving and alcohol-involved fatal crashes have decreased in recent years.