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Drunk driving charges might become criminal charges

On Behalf of | May 22, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

When accused of a DUI in West Virginia, many people expect little more than a slap on the wrist. The state’s regulations regarding the first two or so offenses are not as strict as many other states across America. This might cause even people who know they are innocent not to fight the case because they do not want to go up against law enforcement officers.

However, what if someone dies in a crash related to the alleged DUI? This might cause law enforcement to begin looking at the case as a potential murder case instead of a DUI. This changes things dramatically.

When DUI deaths lead to murder charges

In early 2020, a West Virginia University student died in a car crash after an allegedly drunk driver collided with the Uber she rode in with a friend. The Uber driver faced injuries to the face and the surviving passenger faced an expected recovery time of up to a year as of February. Police later pursued criminal charges against the driver.

Refusing the breathalyzer test

After an accident, many drivers decide to refuse the test so there is no documented evidence of a potential DUI. West Virginia’s transportation website warns that this results in automatic revocation of the person’s driver’s license. For many people, this is a tough price to pay. However, they might find this preferable to risking a positive test, especially if they have taken medication or other substances that might even lead to a false positive.

Not all DUI deaths result in criminal charges against the driver, but it is possible the police might pursue this. Sometimes, the more media attention the case receives and the greater the pressure from the public and the family, the more likely it becomes that the police might choose this route.