Felony Death by Vehicle, Accidents with Injury Cases
If you have been charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Impaired) in a motor vehicle accident resulting in the death or serious injury of another person, then you are facing a felony charge under North Carolina law. North Carolina takes the most aggressive stance towards DUI/DWI offenses that involve injuries. In the case of DWI with injuries, a clean criminal history or driving record is irrelevant. If a death or serious injury results while you are driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or are otherwise impaired, you will be charged with a felony, subjecting you to penalties amongst the harshest available under North Carolina law.
FELONY DEATH BY VEHICLE
Felony Death by Vehicle is a Class D felony in North Carolina, punishable by imprisonment, the permanent loss of your driving privilege, and the imposition of fines completely within a judge’s discretion. While a Felony Death by Vehicle charge is often referred to as a charge for “Felony Vehicular Homicide,” “Felony Vehicular Manslaughter,” or “Felony DWI/DUI,” each of these terms refers to the same criminal offense, a DUI/DWI resulting in a fatal injury. There are 3 essential elements the State must prove to secure a conviction for Felony Death by Vehicle:
- The unintentional killing of another;
- The criminal offense of Driving While Impaired (DWI); and,
- That the DWI is the “proximate cause” of the death
Proximate cause is a legal term of art. In this context, it means that the death would not have occurred but for the DWI. The State is not required to show that the DWI is the only cause or even the most likely cause of a person’s death, but only that it was a contributing factor in all of the circumstances that may have contributed to the victim’s death.
If you are involved in a DWI resulting in death and have a previous DWI conviction any time within the preceding 7 years, you may also face the more serious charge of Aggravated Felony Death by Vehicle. If you have a previous conviction for a DWI-related death, then you may face charges for Repeat Felony Death, the most serious of all DWI-related death offenses in North Carolina.
FELONY SERIOUS INJURY BY VEHICLE
Felony Serious Injury by Vehicle is a Class F felony punishable by imprisonment, the loss of your driving privileges for up to 4 years, and the imposition of hefty fines. There are 3 essential elements the State must show beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction for Felony Serious Injury by Vehicle:
- The unintentional causing of serious injury to another;
- The criminal offense of Driving While Impaired (DWI); and,
- That the DWI is the “proximate cause” of the serious injury.
Russell W. DeMent III
Criminal Defense Lawyer
DWI Legal Services
Under North Carolina law, “serious injury” is any physical injury causing great pain and suffering. It is found in cases involving injuries requiring hospitalization or resulting in lost wages. In cases involving a previous DWI conviction anytime within the preceding 7 years, the more serious charge of Aggravated Felony Serious Injury applies. A Class E felony, this charge subjects you to harsher penalties, a longer jail sentence, and the permanent loss of your driving privilege.
Why You Need DeMent Askew & Johnson:
Cases involving DWI-related deaths or serious bodily injuries require the legal expertise only an attorney experienced in these matters can offer. These cases are delicate. They impact the community at large, attract the focused attention of the public, and placing the highest political pressure on law enforcement.
At DeMent, Askew & Johnson, our attorneys have handled countless felony death by vehicle cases in and around Wake County. Each has been devasting to everyone involved. With over four decades of experience, our traffic attorneys have defended thousands of serious traffic offense charges. If you’ve been arrested for DWI with a serious injury or death, call today for a free consultation. 919-833-5555.
Criminal Law Articles from the Blog
CONNECT WITH US
AVAILABLE AT 9AM TO 6PM
333 Fayetteville Street, #1513
Raleigh, NC 27601-2950
CRIMINAL DEFENSE SUCCESS
Defendant charged with 2 counts of habitual impaired driving on his 7th total offense. Were able to negotiate a plea consolidating the sentence to one term of 28 months in prison where he was facing the potential for 10 years or more.
Evidence Suppressed in DWI Case; Court Holds “No Reasonable and Articulable Suspicion” for Traffic Stop
All evidence suppressed in DWI case for an illegal stop where the LEO observed my client pause in a parking lot for 30 seconds before leaving the lot and then crossed a center line during a turn at an intersection. Held “No reasonable and articulable suspicion” for a traffic stop.
Guilty Verdict of Less Significant Charges of Driving with License Revoked and Lane Violation; Charges Included DWI, Driving While License Revoked, and Hit and Run; No Jail Time
Client charged with DWI, driving while license revoked for impaired revocation, hit and run, and driving left of center. She was found on side of the road in driver’s seat 400 yards from a collision, showed clues of impairment on the field sobriety tests and blew a .10 on the breath test. Found not guilty…
Defendant charged with Level 2 DWI with one prior within 7 years. Was facing a potential sentence of 1 year in prison. Defendant attended a treatment program and really changed her life direction while the case was pending. We were able to get the judge to agree to accept the inpatient treatment as credit for…
Client charged with level 3 trafficking in opiates which carried minimum mandatory sentencing of a minimum of 225 months (18 years 9 months) in prison. After months of negotiating with the prosecuting attorney and following a lengthy argument to the court, Defendant was sentenced to 65 months (5 years and 5 months) in prison with…
Client stopped for speeding. LEO smelled odor of MJ about clients person. LEO search revealed burned MJ blunt. Defendant performed poorly on all physical tests but told the officer he suffered from a herniated disk in his lower back. On the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) eye test there were no clues of impairment. A subsequent…
Defendant had a head-on collision with injuries to both parties. He was given field sobriety tests on the scene of the collision and did not perform well on those tests with the exception of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test where he showed no signs of impairment from any central nervous system depressant. He admitted…
Motion to Suppress and Dismiss Granted for Lack of Probable Cause; No Reliable Evidence Suggesting Impairment After Speeding Stop
Motion to suppress and dismiss granted for lack of probable cause to arrest where my client was stopped for speeding, had an odor of alcohol, glassy eyes, admitted to drinking, as well as showed signs of impairment on the field sobriety tests. The court put little weight on the field sobriety tests because the officer…
Client approaches a DWI roadblock. Smells of alcohol and performs ok on field tests though she does so some signs of NHTSA clues of impairment. She admits to drinking and blows positive for presence of alchol on the portable breath test. She is taken to the mobile breath testing bus at the checkpoint. She is…
Not Guilty of DWI with Serious Collision; LEO Failed to Gather Specific Information from Driver Taken to Hospital with BAC of .17
Client charged with driving while impaired. LEOs respond to a serious collision where someone being taken to the hospital in EMS vehicle upon troopers arrival. The vehicle had flipped 2 times and landed in the median. Based upon information obtained at the scene, the LEO finds my client in the hospital with injuries consistent with…