If you were involved in an auto accident while driving under the influence (DUI) in Oklahoma, you may be held legally responsible for any resulting injuries and/or fatalities. One of the potential charges you could face is DUI manslaughter in the first degree. If you have recently been arrested for this offense, The Edge Law Firm can help. Bruce Edge is not only a skilled criminal defense attorney, but he also wrote the definitive book on Oklahoma DUI law. He will do everything he can at this critical time to protect you against this serious charge.
Negligence vs. Intent
When a person’s actions result in the death of another individual, he or she could be prosecuted for the other person’s death. Depending on the circumstances, the offense may be classified as homicide or manslaughter. When it comes to deciding which charge applies to a particular case, it ultimately comes down to one factor: whether the act was intentional or negligent.
Unlike an intentional act—where someone means to cause harm—a negligent act shows a lack of concern for the safety of others. Oklahoma courts generally classify drinking and driving as a negligent act. As such, if you are involved in a fatal accident and were under the influence of alcohol at the time, you may face criminal charges for first degree manslaughter.
Legal Elements Required
To be convicted of manslaughter in the first degree, the prosecution must prove three elements: first, that a person was killed; second, that you were the direct cause of the death, and third, that this was the direct result of an act that occurred while committing a misdemeanor crime. This charge is a felony and you can expect to spend up to life in prison, lose your license, and pay a hefty fine if you are found guilty of first degree manslaughter.
Fortunately, being charged with first degree manslaughter and being convicted of the crime are not the same thing. With the right defense strategy, you may be able to prove that the charges against you are unwarranted and in turn, avoid the life-altering consequences of a manslaughter conviction.
Not Guilty Verdicts for First-Degree Manslaughter
State v. C.M. — Attorney Bruce Edge was able to have DUI test results dismissed from evidence. He also secured a NOT GUILTY verdict from the jury for the client’s DUI manslaughter charge.
State v. M.G. — The client faced a DUI manslaughter charge after an accident in which a man on a mobile-assisted scooter was killed. Attorney Bruce Edge challenged and discredited two star witnesses of the state, and the jury returned with a NOT GUILTY verdict.
State v. P.L. — The client was charged with DUI for both drugs and alcohol, with testimony that they had admitted to ingesting Lortab and shots of rum. Attorneys Jason and Bruce Edge brought in witnesses, an expert, and an investigator to challenge the evidence, and a verdict of NOT GUILTY was returned after only 18 minutes of deliberation.