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OWI Causing Death or Manslaughter

OWI Causing Death or Manslaughter

In some cases, an OWI may result in the death of another person. In such a case, the state of Michigan will elevate the OWI charge to a felony level offense. OWI charges are the result of some intoxicating substance that is present in the defendant’s bloodstream at the time of the arrest.

In the following article, we’ll cover the penalties and causes of an OWI Manslaughter charge.

Oakland County OWI Manslaughter Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for OWI manslaughter in  Michigan, contact Dallo Law, P.C. to obtain competent legal representation. Your freedom depends on your defense attorney’s actions early in the case and the strategy he or she uses throughout the investigation and prosecution.

You have the right to an attorney who will use every resource available to fight for you. Attorney Dallo is prepared to obtain the best possible outcome for your case. Reach out to Dallo Law, P.C. at (248) 283-7000 to schedule your first consultation.

Our firm accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area including Pontiac, Troy, Waterford Township, Oakland Charter Township, Royal Oak, Clarkston, Southfield, and Bloomfield Hills.

Information Center

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What is an OWI Charge?

An OWI charge consists of operating a vehicle with an illegal blood limit (UBAL) or operating a vehicle with a high enough alcohol or drug content to where the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle is significantly affected.

Michigan Penal Code Section 257.625 states a person is “operating while intoxicated” if .08 grams of alcohol is found per:

  • 210 liters of breath;
  • 67 milliliters of urine; or
  • 100 milliliters of blood.

For purposes of Michigan’s OWI statute, the term “intoxicating substance” is defined to include a substance in any form, including but not limited to vapors and fumes, other than food, that was taken into the defendant’s body in any manner, that is used in a manner or for a purpose for which it was not intended, and that may result in a condition of intoxication.

The term “under the influence” is defined to means that because of drinking alcohol, using or consuming a controlled substance, or consuming or taking into the body an intoxicating substance, the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle in a normal manner was substantially lessened.

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What is Vehicular Manslaughter

Manslaughter is defined by Michigan Penal Code Section 257.601d as any person who commits a moving violation that is the proximate cause of the death of another person. In other words, if a person’s actions while in a vehicle result either directly or indirectly in the death of another person (e.g., swerving to avoid the driver and crashing or a head-on collision), then the driver may be charged with manslaughter. Manslaughter is generally considered a misdemeanor.

However, the implication of alcohol will likely result in the charge’s enhancement to a felony level offense.

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Death of a Police Officer

In rare cases, an OWI events may result in the death of a police officer, firefighter or other emergency response personnel. In these cases, the defendant will face sentencing of up to 20 years in prison.

Penalties for OWI Manslaughter

The following penalties apply for manslaughter charges.

  • Death of another person: Up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine up $2,500 to $10,000.
  • Death of another person with a BAC of 0.17 or higher: Imprisonment for up to 20 years and/or a fine of $2,500 to $10,000.
  • Death of a police officer, firefighter or emergency personnel: Up to 20 years in prison and/or $2,500 to $10,000.
  • Causing severe impairment: If the driver does not cause death, but instead causes serious bodily harm, then the driver may be sentenced by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of $1,000 to $5,000.

In addition to the above penalty schedule, drivers may be required to complete sobriety training, face suspended licenses, and be forced to use ignition interlock devices among other penalties.

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Defenses for OWI Manslaughter

Disputing Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Test Results: Challenging the accuracy or reliability of the BAC test results is a common defense. Factors such as improper testing procedures, calibration issues, or medical conditions that may affect the results could be considered.

Questioning Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are subjective, and various factors can influence performance. An attorney might challenge the validity of these tests, arguing that external factors like weather conditions, medical conditions, or improper administration could lead to inaccurate results.

Establishing an Alternative Cause for the Accident: To counter the claim that your intoxication caused the accident, your defense might present evidence suggesting another plausible cause, such as a mechanical failure, adverse road conditions, or the actions of another driver.

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Additional Resources

Cases, Opinions & Orders | Michigan Courts – Visit the official website of Michigan’s judicial branch to access current orders, review cases, and research court opinions.

Reckless Driving Causing Death or Serious Impairment of a Body Function | Michigan Model Criminal Jury Instructions – Visit the official website of Michigan’s state court system to reference the exact language used to instruct members of a jury as to whether they should convict or acquit an individual who has been charged with the State’s closest equivalent to vehicular manslaughter.

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Hire an OWI Manslaughter Defense Attorney in Oakland County

If you have been arrested for an OWI-related vehicular manslaughter, your future and freedom are at stake. Any homicide charge in the State of Michigan is prosecuted harshly and if convicted, you will face years of imprisonment and stiff fines. In a situation such as this, you need a competent criminal defense attorney that can fight for the justice you deserve.

Attorney J. Dallo at Dallo Law, P.C. is uniquely qualified to represent you in any case of murder. With our firm representing you, you will have the best possible chance at minimizing the penalties if not beating the criminal charges altogether. Call us now at (561) 557-8686 to set up your first consultation free.

Dallo Law, P.C. has offices located in Bloomfield Hills, and accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area.

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