A drunk driving charge can have a steep enough impact on its own, but if someone is killed in an accident where you are accused of driving under the influence, the charges are all the more serious. When a serious or fatal accident occurs in New Hampshire, police check all drivers involved for signs of alcohol or drug intoxication. This is true even if the driver is deceased or severely injured. Sadly, accidents involving drunk drivers are all too common. According to the Century Council, in 2011 about 9,878 people died in accidents caused by drunk drivers, including 27 in New Hampshire.
For example, recently, a Tennessee man was accused DUI manslaughter after he and his wife were involved in an accident involving their car hitting a tree. 27-year-old McKenzie Nattiel was driving with his wife in October of last year when he lost control of his vehicle as they went around a curve in the road, causing the car to slam into a tree. Nattiel's wife, Michaela Alyecia Dewitt-Nattiel, suffered severe injuries and died at the hospital early the next day. Now, Nattiel is facing DUI manslaughter charges because police found that his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over the legal limit after the accident.
In New Hampshire, a death that results from a DWI accident is often ruled as a negligent homicide. Under New Hampshire's criminal code, RSA 630:3 II, a person can be charged with negligent homicide if they caused the death of another while “being under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled drug or any combination of intoxicating liquor and controlled drug while operating a propelled vehicle”.
In New Hampshire, negligent homicide involving DWI is a class A felony. According to the law, anyone convicted of this type of felony will be subject to a steep fine, up to 15 years of incarceration and more. Additionally, drivers will have their licenses revoked and will not be eligible to reapply for at least 7 years. If license reinstatement is granted, the driver will have to use an ignition interlock device for at least 5 years after. A conviction of this magnitude will also result addition of a felony offense to the offender's criminal record. Jobs, schools and even landlords check this record before making any type of decision and, in many cases, a felony conviction can lead to an applicant to being denied.
Negligent homicide is an extremely serious charge, so it is important to make sure that you have an experienced attorney on your side. A person who is involved in a fatal accident with even a trace of drugs or alcohol in their system could be charged with negligent homicide. Regardless of the circumstances of your arrest, it is vital for anyone facing charges these type of charges to understand their rights as well as what defense options are available to them. For more information on negligent homicide charges and how you can fight them, contact a New Hampshire DWI attorney right away.