Homicide by Vehicle while Under the Influence is one of the most serious types of crimes an accused can be confronted with. Homicide while under the influence is graded as a felony of the second degree and punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison. A conviction for this crime requires that the Court impose a three year minimum mandatory prison sentence for every individual killed as a result of the Drunk Driving of the defendant.
In order for an accused to be found guilty of Vehicular Homicide, the government must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
1) That the Defendant unintentionally caused the death of another person;
2) The death came about as the result of a violation of section 3802 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance);
3) And the Defendant is convicted of violating section 3802 (DUI)
Defenses for Homicide by Vehicle while DUI charges
The primary defense for these types of charges is that the government cannot prove that the death occurred as a result of the Defendant driving under the influence at the time of the accident. Typically this defense requires that the defense show one or more of the following:
1) That the death occurred as a result of the negligence of the deceased...i.e., the deceased somehow contributed to or caused the accident which brought about their unfortunate death.
2) The death occurred as a result of the negligence of a third party. This can include demonstrating that the county or township or state didn't maintain the roadway in a manner to protect its travelers (such as poor lighting etc), or that there was another person or driver who acted negligently and caused the accident.
The second defense for Homicide by Vehicle while DUI cases is that the government cannot prove that the defendant was Driving Under the Influence when the accident occurred. This defense requires challenging the manner in which the Defendant's Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was obtained or by challenging the arresting officer's opinion that the defendant was Driving Under the Influence when the accident occurred.