DUI & Murder
DUI that causes death may, in special cases, be charged as murder. In the most extreme cases, it may even be charged as murder in the first degree. First-degree murder requires a showing of malice, usually found when the defendant acts in utter recklessness or wantonness.
It is stated that malice for the purpose of DUI murder are acts by the defendant that represents conscious disregard for human life, that the defendant knew his conduct was dangerous to others and had blatant disregard for any damage he/she caused. The defendant’s treatment history for alcoholism can be brought before the court as evidence that the defendant knew his/her conduct was dangerous and sought treatment before driving drunk again, when the death occurred.
In most DUI murder convictions, malice is inferred from the defendant’s handling a weapon that may cause death. In the case of a drunk driver, it is said that the mere driving of a car on the road demonstrates the defendant handled a dangerous weapon.
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