Anyone in Colorado who faces criminal charges will know that a conviction could mean time in prison. If it involves violent crimes, the consequences can be life changing, including a felony record that will follow a convict forever. Many people might not realize that causing a fatal crash while under the influence of alcohol constitutes a violent crime, even if there was no intention to kill anybody.
Under such circumstances, the charge might be involuntary manslaughter, which typically involves criminal or reckless negligence that led to the unintentional killing of someone else — except when it involves an inherently dangerous felony. Although driving under the influence of alcohol might be a low-level felony or a misdemeanor, it can lead to a charge of criminally negligent homicide. The difference between this crime and murder — first or second degree — is the fact that a human death resulted from negligence without planned malice.
Vehicular manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter charges can follow the accidental killing of a pedestrian when running a red light. Also, if a driver caused the death of a passenger in his or her car while driving impaired, it can be deemed negligent. While this might not fall in the murder category, it will likely lead to involuntary manslaughter charges.
Defending these types of violent crimes after a DUI accident in Colorado might require the skills and experience of a criminal defense attorney. Prosecutors will have to show negligent driving on the part of the defendant, which often includes proof of alcohol or drug impairment. With an experienced attorney in his or her corner right from the start, a defendant might see his or her charges reduced or even dismissed.