The Importance of Legal Defense in OUI Manslaughter Cases

Any person who commits manslaughter while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, when convicted of the crime, will face a minimum of five years in prison. “Melanie’s Law” is a statute that increases penalties for OUI offenses, adopted by the legislature in 2005, making it impossible to avoid prison time if convicted of this offense. 

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Penalties for OUI vehicular manslaughter

The penalties imposed in a conviction for OUI vehicular manslaughter can vary in severity, based on the criminal record of the accused person. Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and then causing a collision and the death of another individual will be heavily punished in Massachusetts. The penalties for this felony offense include the following:

  • 5 years mandatory prison time, up to 20 years 
  • Up to $25,000 in fines
  • 15 years or a lifetime loss of driving privileges

Investigations into fatal vehicle accidents and drunk driving

After an individual has died in an accident, police accident investigators arrive on the scene. Every aspect of the accident is reviewed, from the damage to the vehicles, skid marks on the roadway, the impact points on vehicles and other details. Drivers are interviewed about what occurred, eyewitnesses interviewed, and if available, video evidence obtained. Alcohol and drug testing are performed if law enforcement suspects the accident was the result of intoxicated driving.

The burden of proof lies with the prosecutor, who must establish two points:

  • The accused person was operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • The wanton and reckless driving conduct of the accused individual caused the death of a human being

Wanton and reckless conduct is acting in a manner (in this case, operating a vehicle) that has a high likelihood of causing substantial harm to another.

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Why choose Gilman Law?

When represented by Gilman Law, every detail of the evidence will be reviewed to identify errors that could be exploited in a defense. It may be necessary to call on professional resources, such as accident reconstruction experts to establish that the accused person was not responsible for the collision. The first step in any arrest is the protection of a skilled OUI defense attorney. Your defense lawyer stands between you and the full force of the justice system, and choosing the right lawyer could not be more important with regard to the final outcome of your case.

Our firm offers payment plans and will always speak with you honestly about what to expect in both the criminal case and license revocation at the RMV. Once our legal services have been retained, we get to work on the critical defense actions, which should occur quickly to ensure no evidence is lost or destroyed. Gilman Law is widely known as one of the go-to resources for drivers facing charges related to OUI, including OUI vehicular homicide, as well for all license suspension issues at the RMV.

Defending against charges of OUI vehicular manslaughter

A fatal vehicle accident is difficult for everyone involved, including law enforcement. When investigating the facts, it is possible for a serious error to occur. Any flaw in the prosecution’s case must be identified and brought to the attention of the jury, including errors in the accident investigation, blood or breath testing, police procedure, or other piece of evidence. 

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You have rights.

As a defendant, you have rights, and your rights must be protected. After another person has died due to injuries in an auto accident, law enforcement may conclude that you are to blame, and file a charge of OUI vehicular manslaughter. The consequences of a conviction are extremely severe, affecting every area of your life, including your ability to earn a living, rent a home, get a loan, own a firearm, vote, or find a relationship partner. At Gilman Law, our defense team acts to protect your rights, and seek a better outcome by negotiating with the prosecutor or presenting a compelling case to the jury. 

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