Early last month, a Colorado Springs woman pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. As the Gazette reports, this case details just how seriously the courts take this particular criminal charge and the significant ramifications a conviction can bring.
Cassandra Griffin, 26, was found to have a .22 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) last November after she ran a stop sign in her Jeep Cherokee and collided with the truck of 26-year-old Kyle Dunbar on Colorado Highway 94. Dunbar was killed in the crash. Earlier in the year, Griffin was offered a plea deal that included 12 years in prison—the maximum allowable punishment included in Colorado's vehicular homicide statute when drunk driving is involved (Colorado Revised Statute 18-3-106).
Fourth Judicial District Judge Thomas Kelly oversaw the sentencing hearing, in which Dunbar's family members made pleas to the court set a high standard for punishing drunk drivers who end up hurting others. "When you kill another person by choosing to drive drunk, that is murder and should be punished as such," the victim's mother told the court.
Understanding Vehicular Homicide
Vehicular homicide doesn't always involve drunk driving, but when it does, it is considered a more serious charge. When it is just considered driving in a "reckless manner," it is considered a Class 4 felony that comes with a 6-year maximum prison sentence.
However, when drunk driving is involved, vehicular homicide is considered a Class 3 felony, with a maximum punishment of 12 years in prison. Additionally, if the judge believes that there are "extraordinary aggravating circumstances," there is a maximum penalty of 24 years in prison.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI of a DUI-related offense, then it is critical that you speak to proven counsel immediately. The award-winning, industry-recognized team of Denver DUI defense lawyers at Orr Law Firm are well-versed in this branch of criminal defense and know what challenges and concerns defendants face both in and outside the courtroom.
Dismissals and reductions can be possible. Contact us today to start exploring your defense options.