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Drunk Driving: Accident Leads to Homicide Charges in Delaware


On July 7, 2017, Delaware Department of Justice officials announced the sentencing of a man who pled guilty in February to a number of Drunk Driving related offenses, including first-degree vehicular homicide. According to Wilmington’s WDEL 101.7 FM radio news, the offender will spend five years in prison after causing a crash that killed a New Castle, Delaware man. The collision occurred when the man was driving along a state highway and crossed the center line, striking another vehicle. The motorist in the other car sustained extensive injuries and died eight days after the incident, highlighting the circumstances under which a Drunk Driving charge can be elevated to a serious felony. Therefore, it is critical to retain an experienced Delaware DUI attorney to protect your rights in a similar situation.

Vehicular Homicide in Delaware 

If you cause a death while operating a vehicle, you may face  the following  charges:

  • Second Degree: If you cause a death while operating a vehicle in a criminally negligent manner or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may face second degree vehicular manslaughter
  • First Degree: The more serious charges apply if you cause death while operating a vehicle in a criminally  negligent  manner and  are under the influence of alcohol  or drugs.

Criminal negligence is defined as failing to perceive a risk that death  could  result  from  certain conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from  the standard  of conduct  that  a  reasonable person  would observe in the situation.

Causation Element 

It is necessary for a prosecuting attorney to prove causation in order to obtain a conviction for Vehicular Homicide. Therefore, a driver can only be convicted if there is a direct link between a driver’s negligent driving and the victim’s death.

Penalties for Vehicular Homicide 

The consequences of a conviction for Vehicular Homicide depend on the degree of the crime and the specific circumstances of the case. In general, you may be facing significant penalties.

  • As a Class D felony, second degree vehicular manslaughter is punishable by up to eight years in prison, a fine, and a three-year driver’s license suspension. There is a minimum 1 year jail sentence that must be
  • Because first degree vehicular  manslaughter  is a Class C felony, you  may be sentenced  to  up to 15  years in  prison,  a fine, and a four-year  driver’s  license suspension. There is a  minimum 2  year  jail sentence  which  must be imposed.

An Experienced DUI Defense Attorney Will Fight for Your Rights 

Delaware law treats any Drunk Driving charge as a serious matter, but the consequences of causing death or serious injury while impaired are even more severe. Therefore, if you are facing a charge for causing death or serious injury as a result of a car accident, it is paramount to secure legal representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney. The legal team at the Law Office of Michael W. Modica in Wilmington, DE has extensive experience in Drunk Driving matters and will provide aggressive and seasoned representation. Please contact us with questions or to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer.


wdel.com/news/maryland-man-who-drove-drunk-killed–year-old- new / artic le ba7ec072-6342-11 e7-ad21-ef0d4de38 27 6.html

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