OWI Causing Serious Injury or Death

DUI Accident 2

Lansing Michigan OWI Causing Serious Injury or Death Attorney

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is a misdemeanor unless it is your third offense, then it is elevated to a felony. The exception to that is if there are aggravating factors, namely causing serious injury or death while driving under the influence. Even if it is your first offense, you will not find yourself facing the standard 93 or 180-day misdemeanor. Instead, you will be facing up to 15 years in prison for a serious felony. With practically no reasonable chance of a non-felony plea offer, you need to be represented by an experienced OWI lawyer. The standard OWI defenses still apply and we apply the same approach as are other OWI cases. However, these charges have the added element that the drunk driving caused someone to be injured or killed.

Penalties

OWI, OWVI, OUID Causing Serious Injury

  • Up to five years in prison
  • $1,000-5,000 in fines plus court costs
  • 180 days vehicle immobilization unless forfeited
  • License plate confiscation
  • $2,000 in driver’s responsibility fees ($1,000 for two consecutive years)

OWI, OWVI, OUID Causing Death

  • Up to 15 years in prison
  • $2,500-10,000 in fines plus court costs
  • 180 days vehicle immobilization unless forfeited
  • License plate confiscation
  • $2,000 in driver’s responsibility fees ($1,000 for two consecutive years)

Additional Felony Charges

In addition to the OWI causing injury charge, you could also face additional and more serious felony charges if the victim dies. Many prosecutors will add charges of Manslaughter with a Motor Vehicle and even Second Degree Murder. Here is what the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in those cases.

Manslaughter with a Motor Vehicle Elements

1)Defendant was driving a car

2)In a grossly negligent manner

3)That substantially caused the death of another person

Second Degree Murder Elements

1)Defendant caused the death of another person

2)With malice

3)And without justification or excuse

Causation Element

Causation is a vitally important factor in both OWI Causing Serious Injury and OWI Causing Death. It is not enough that the defendant was driving with an unlawful blood alcohol level and was in accident where someone was hurt or killed. Michigan does not apply it as a strict liability crime. This was a clarified a few years ago by the Michigan Supreme Court in the case of People v Feezel, where defendant was charged with OUID Causing Death when THC was found in his system.

In Feezel, the Court held that the trial court was wrong to not allow the defense to prevent evidence of the defendant’s intoxication. The Court held that evidence of gross negligence is relevant if it tends to prove the decedent may have acted in wanton or reckless disregard for the result of his actions. Evidence of defendant’s intoxication could be an intervening cause of death thus breaking the chain of causation between the defendant and the decedent. The prosecutor still has to prove that defendant’s intoxicated driving was a substantial cause of the other person’s death and evidence that the defendant was acting grossly negligent, is relevant to determining causation.

Causation is a crucial element in these felony OWI charges. It is important that you have a lawyer that is experienced in defending these types of felony OWI cases. Expert testimony and accident reconstruction are very important as well as the computer readings of the cars involved showing when the brakes were applied, acceleration, deceleration, and speeds. If charged with OWI Causing a Serious Injury, the prosecutor has to prove that the victim has suffered a serious injury that was caused by defendant’s drunk driving.

Michigan OWI Lawyer

If you have been charged with felony OWI or OWI Causing Injury or Death, you need the best representation possible because your freedom is at stake. Contact Austin Legal Services, PLC at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan felony OWI attorney today!

Representing felony OWI cases throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Jackson, Livingston, Kent, Washtenaw, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Shiawassee, Barry in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, St. Johns, Ithaca, Charlotte, Jackson, Brighton, Howell, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Hastings, Corunna, Durand.