The Prosecution’s Responsibility
Before the court can convict you of drunk driving causing death, the prosecutor must prove that you were under the influence and that your driving caused the victim’s death. If the state can’t prove that a crime occurred, the incident must be treated as a motor vehicle accident.
As in any criminal case in the U.S., you don’t have to prove your innocence – the prosecution has to prove your guilt.
On the legal side, in order for a conviction to stick, the prosecutor has to prove that you caused the death of another person while you were handling a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. A similar offense, drunk driving causing injury, is treated less seriously (but still harshly) by the Wisconsin court system.
Defenses for Drunk Driving Accidents that Result in Death
The state needs to prove that you were under the influence at the time of the accident, so in some cases, your attorney may be able to challenge the evidence that the prosecution presents in court.
Penalties for a DUI Causing Death Conviction in Wisconsin
In the state of Wisconsin, drunk driving accidents resulting in death can be considered Class D or
Class C felonies. Your past history, including previous drunk driving convictions, plays a big role in whether you are charged with a Class D or Class C felony.
Penalties for a Class D felony include:
•Up to 25 years imprisonment, including supervision •Up to 15 years initial confinement •Up to $100,000 in fines
Penalties for a Class C felony include:
•Up to 40 years imprisonment, including supervision •Up to 25 years initial confinement •Up to $100,000 in fines
What to Do if You’re Charged with DUI Causing Death
Before you answer any questions, it’s probably in your best interest to talk to a lawyer. You have the right to have your lawyer with you while you’re being questioned, and you have the right for your attorney to represent you in court.
Most people find it’s best to work with an attorney who understands how to challenge evidence the prosecution presents and who can fight for your rights in front of a judge and jury.