Fighting Against Drunk Driving-Related Manslaughter Charges
Most people who get behind the wheel after a few drinks don’t intend to hurt anyone. You may have simply overestimated your driving ability or made a poor decision in the moment. However, when you end up in an accident that causes someone’s death, your life gets completely upended as well. You may face homicide charges for drunk driving-related manslaughter. These charges are serious and scary.
At Fabian & Associates Inc, P.C., our DUI defense lawyers represent clients throughout Oklahoma charged with drunk driving, including DUI manslaughter. We understand the severity of the charges you’re facing. You can count on us to mount a strong defense on your behalf.
We will work tirelessly to protect you from the harsh consequences of a conviction. Whether that means pursuing a dismissal, challenging the state’s evidence or fighting the charges at trial, we will find the strongest angle for securing a favorable outcome.
What Is DUI Manslaughter?
Oklahoma law establishes several types of homicide charges, including:
- First-degree manslaughter, which applies if a death occurs because you were committing a misdemeanor-level DUI, whether it involved alcohol, marijuana or other intoxicating substances
- Second-degree murder, which applies if a death occurs while you were committing a felony-level DUI that demonstrated a clear disregard for others’ lives
First-degree manslaughter is sometimes called “misdemeanor manslaughter” because it refers to a death that results from a misdemeanor crime. However, the offense itself is a felony. “Vehicular homicide” is another term that refers to first-degree DUI manslaughter.
With first-degree manslaughter, the prosecution doesn’t have to prove that you intended to kill someone. All they have to prove is that you were engaged in the crime of driving while intoxicated and that the crime caused the death of another person.
What Are The Consequences For DUI-Related Manslaughter?
In Oklahoma, a conviction for first-degree manslaughter can result in:
- Imprisonment ranging from four years up to a life sentence
- At least 10 years if you have one prior felony offense
- At least 20 years if you have two or more prior felonies
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Loss of your driver’s license
- A permanent felony conviction on your record
- Loss of your ability to bear firearms as a felon
Oklahoma’s 85 percent rule applies to first-degree manslaughter. This means that if you’re convicted, you will have to serve at least 85 percent of your sentence before you’re eligible for parole.
What To Expect If You’re Charged With DUI-Related Manslaughter Or Murder
First, you can expect to appear before a judge for an arraignment. During this hearing, the charges will be filed against you, and you will be read your rights. It’s also your opportunity to enter a not-guilty plea, which will lead to the remaining steps in the process.
The pretrial process includes gathering evidence, appearing at a preliminary hearing and pursuing any motions (requests to the court) that will help your case. This is also the time to negotiate with prosecutors for a potential plea deal.
If your case goes to trial, you will have the option to have a jury or judge decide your case. If you get convicted, the next step will be a sentencing hearing.
Why A DUI Defense Lawyer Is Essential
First-degree manslaughter is a serious charge that can have a lifelong impact. It’s critical to have a lawyer on your side at all stages of the proceedings. The sooner you have an advocate on your side, the better you will be protected.
Not all DUI defense lawyers handle manslaughter charges. Make sure you find a team you can trust with your rights and freedoms.
Why Work With Our Team
You want skilled and experienced lawyers on your side when you’re facing such severe charges and harsh potential consequences. The defense team of Stephen G. Fabian, Jr., and Brian P. Young is like having your own dream team of Oklahoma DUI defense lawyers.
Both attorneys are intimately familiar with the criminal justice system in Oklahoma. Both are experienced accident investigators and are knowledgeable in accident reconstruction techniques. These strengths are critical in confronting charges relating to fatal DUI accidents.
Mr. Fabian, himself a seasoned accident investigator, taught many of the legal procedures and laws of arrest to police officers. Mr. O’Brien was a police officer for five years as well as a prosecuting attorney for the Oklahoma DPS. These backgrounds will work to your benefit. Our firm also works with knowledgeable experts to support your case.
Take Charge Of Your Defense
You have valuable rights at all stages of the criminal process. We can help you enforce those rights while pursuing a strong and effective defense.
To speak with one of our experienced Oklahoma DUI accident defense lawyers regarding your drunk driving accident charges, please call us at 405-213-0208 or complete our intake form on our Contact Us page. No one will fight harder to protect your rights.