An Atlanta man was recently indicted last week on charges relating to a fatal DUI accident that occurred on Highway 78 last year. The crash also resulted in the death of the man's 15-year-old daughter. According to officials from the DeKalb County Superior Court, the man was being charged with two counts of first-degree vehicular homicide and three counts of endangering a child.
Officers state that the man had reportedly struck a tree after driving his car off the highway. Two of his daughters were in the backseat at the time of the accident. His 15-year-old daughter suffered fatal injuries during the collision and his 11-year-old daughter suffered considerable damages that resulted in hearing loss in one ear.
While tragic in every way imaginable, this story serves as a reminder of just how devastating driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs can be. As impaired driving continues to kill and injure thousands of Americans throughout the country each year, local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors – including those in Atlanta and the state of Georgia – offer little tolerance or leniency to accused individuals who were involved in DUI accidents.
Accidents, injuries, and fatalities are considered some of the most aggravating circumstances that can be involved in a DUI accident. As such, Georgia imposes harsh criminal and driver's license penalties to those who are convicted of these offenses. First-degree vehicular manslaughter, for example, is a felony offense punishable by a minimum of 3 years in prison to a maximum of 15 years. Additional years may also be added in cases involving habitual offenders who have prior DUI convictions on their record.
In addition, DUIs in which a minor was present in the vehicle are also circumstances that law enforcement officers and prosecutors do not take lightly. In this particular case, the Atlanta man had two children under the age of 15 in his vehicle, a fact that has prompted prosecutors to push for multiple charges and elevated punishment. Under Georgia law, motorists who drive under the influence with a child passenger can be prosecuted for a separate charge for each child in the vehicle. With the potential for multiple charges, and because this crime is considered highly negligent, individuals charged with DUI child endangerment face extremely severe criminal penalties.
If you, your loved one, or someone you care about has recently been arrested and charged with a DUI involving any aggravating circumstance, please be aware that charges and penalties can be greatly heightened. In many ways, these offenses can place your freedom and future at stake, which is why you should always take the necessary steps needed to work with a proven and highly experienced Atlanta DUI attorney. If you would like more information about heightened DUI allegations, or if you wish to discuss your case personally with a member of our legal team, please contact the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub as soon as possible.