Driving a vehicle while impaired by any substance carries serious legal repercussions in Colorado. But charges involving a fatal DUI (driving under the influence) are understandably the most severe. When an individual is charged with driving while intoxicated and causing another person’s death, the result is a felony DUI charge.
In particular, Colorado’s vehicular homicide law covers fatal DUI accidents under section 18-3-106(1)(b)(I) of the criminal code. It states that when an individual drives impaired by alcohol or other drugs, and causes a fatality, “such person commits vehicular homicide.” Typically, an alcohol-related DUI is determined by the driver’s blood alcohol level (BAC). If an individual’s BAC is 0.08 percent or more, he or she is considered impaired by law. However, a BAC reading of 0.05 percent or above, while not implicit, can be used against a defendant by a prosecutor if evidence of mechanical, mental, or physical impairment can be demonstrated.
Conversely, a defense attorney can present evidence that shows the defendant was not impaired at the time of the accident. In the case of DUIs involving drugs or both drug and alcohol use, judging impairment is a bit trickier for officials. A combination of breath, blood, urine, and other field sobriety tests may be administered to determine the type and degree of potential intoxication. The law also stipulates that an individual can be charged and convicted of drug impairment for drugs that were legally prescribed by a physician.
A fatal DUI is a class 3 felony and penalties in Colorado may include a four to sixteen year prison sentence, thousands of dollars in fines, and numerous years of mandatory parole once prison time is completed. A convicted driver may also be responsible for paying punitive damages to the victim(s).
If you’re facing a fatal DUI charge in Colorado, contact the Colorado Springs DUI defense attorneys with the Bussey Law Firm, P.C. at (719) 475-2555 for a complimentary and confidential consultation.