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The consequences of vehicular homicide in Virginia – Part I

Frequent readers of our blog are well aware of the consequences of drinking and driving, having likely read a number of our posts concerning the topic. But it’s not just something our readers are aware of, it’s something few people in our state need reminding of as well, thanks to state and national campaigns aimed at curbing drunk driving.

Although most anti-drunk driving ads focus on the biggest cost of a drunk-driving accident, which is the loss of life, these ads tend to leave out a very important message: the serious legal consequences you could face. That’s why in today’s post and again next week, we are going to take a look at the law here in Virginia and the legal consequences you could face following a drunk-driving accident, particularly a fatal one.

In Virginia, as is the case in all states, driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal and punishable depending on the laws within that state. Here in our state, punishment can vary depending on the seriousness of the offense.

Take for example a fatal drunk-driving accident. Criminal penalties vary depending on the circumstances of the accident. In most cases, a person would likely be charged with involuntary manslaughter and face no less than one year in prison but as much as 10 years. They may also face a fine of up to $2,500, according to madd.org.

As we just said though, the extent of punishment depends on the circumstances of the accident. What this means is that if the court finds a person’s decision to drink and drive showed a reckless disregard for human life, then that person could be charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years per charge.

Though criminal charges are the consequences our Atlanta readers likely care about the most following a drunk-driving incident, our readers should know that criminal charges are not the only consequence you could face. In next week’s post, we’ll look at the second consequence, which is civil litigation.

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