Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal charge in the state of Arizona. If a person were to be DUI, was involved in a traffic accident with someone was killed as a result of the collision you likely will end up being prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter, as well as charges for DUI.
Even if you were barely above the legal limit and had no intent whatsoever to cause any sort of injury or death, it may not matter should the state decide to prosecute you under this charge. In order to understand the ramifications of DUI arrests in Phoenix or Tempe it is important that you should consult experienced Arizona DUI lawyers like those associated with the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C.
For a first DUI offense, if your BAC is below 0.15 percent, a minimum sentence to jail is 24 hours. If your BAC is between 0.15 percent and 0.20 percent, a minimum sentence is 30 days in jail. If your BAC is above 0.20 percent, a minimum sentence to jail is 45 days. In order for you to be subject to enhanced jail sentences, prosecutors for the state of Arizona have to prove that your actual BAC exceeded those minimum amounts. If this is not your first DUI offense, the potential penalties can grow exponentially. A sentence to jail can be enhanced if prosecutors prove that you have a previous DUI arrest and conviction, which occurred within 84 months of the current charge.
Ironically, there is no law or statute in the state of Arizona that addresses vehicular manslaughter involving DUI. Thus, prosecutors use other laws in order to prosecute DUIs that result in injury or death. Under Arizona law, the crime of manslaughter is a Class 2 felony and negligent homicide is a Class 4 felony.
In the state of Arizona, manslaughter is defined in several different ways. The most common definition is that a person commits manslaughter by recklessly causing the death of another person. Compare manslaughter to negligent homicide: a person commits negligent homicide if with criminal negligence the person causes the death of another person. Additionally, the state of Arizona defines the descriptive adjective, recklessly, as "when a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard of such risk constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation. A person who creates such a risk but who is unaware of such risk solely by reason of voluntary intoxication also acts recklessly with respect to such risk."
And, the state of Arizona defines criminal negligence as "when a person fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation."
It is important that your DUI legal situation should be handled by expert professionals with the experience possessed by the attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C.