Driving under the influence is a serious crime in South Carolina, as it should be. Should you accidentally and unintentionally kill someone when you were drunk behind the wheel, you will face vehicular manslaughter charges, which is why you should immediately speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case.
Vehicular manslaughter is also referred to as reckless homicide, intoxication manslaughter, or felony DUI causing death. Vehicular manslaughter occurs when you kill another person who was either a pedestrian, riding a bicycle, in another vehicle, or in your vehicle while you were driving. The penalties for this felony crime range from fines of $10,100 to $25,100 and/or one to 25 years in prison. Your driver’s license will be suspended for the length of your prison term, plus an additional five years following your release.
What happens when you are charged with vehicular manslaughter?
It is important to understand that being charged with vehicular manslaughter does not automatically bring a guilty verdict. However, this is a serious criminal charge that can change your life instantly. That is why you need to fight the charges immediately with the help of a criminal defense attorney.
You may be given a field sobriety test (FST) at the scene of the accident if you were not seriously injured. South Carolina does not permit breath tests being administered on the side of the road, so a chemical breath test will be administered at the police station after you are taken into custody, or you will be taken to a medical center for a blood draw.
Defenses to vehicular homicide charges
There is nothing stopping you and your attorney from mounting a defense against vehicular homicide charges in South Carolina. You just need to know the best and most strategic defense applicable to your situation. Some common defenses include the following:
- Illegally obtained evidence. It’s possible that your blood alcohol content level was tested illegally. Your attorney can fight to have it thrown out, even if you were over the legal limit of 0.08 at the time of the crash.
- Pre-existing condition. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you might be able to argue that it contributed to the crash and not that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The crash was unrelated to drugs or alcohol. You can make the claim that drugs and alcohol did not contribute to the crash and that other outside factors led to the accident.
Not all of these defenses will be permitted in South Carolina courts, which is why you should always speak with a criminal defense attorney when charged with a DUI offense.
If you were arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, it is in your best interest to schedule a consultation with Holland Law, LLC, in York, Lancaster, or Chester County. You have too much to lose not to. Call our office at 803-219-2630, or complete the contact form on our website to schedule your consultation today. Mr. Holland operates offices in Fort Mill and Rock Hill to better serve you.
Tom Holland previously served as the General Counsel for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the City Solicitor for the City of Lancaster, and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. He is a single father, and through his own divorce gained valuable insight he now uses to represent Fort Mill and Rock Hill, SC families with the best representation. Learn more about Tom Holland.