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DUI Resulting in Fatality Charges

Bretz Legal, LLC July 8, 2024

Law gavel, alcohol and car keys on a wooden deskDriving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense, but when it results in a fatality, the legal consequences become even more severe. For those facing such charges and for individuals seeking legal advice, understanding the intricacies of these charges is crucial. In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore the legal landscape of DUI resulting in fatality charges, the consequences, and the importance of seeking professional legal advice. 

Understanding DUI Resulting in Fatality 

A DUI resulting in fatality occurs when an individual driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causes an accident that leads to the death of another person. This charge is considered one of the most severe offenses within DUI laws. 

Legal Classification 

In most jurisdictions, DUI resulting in fatality is classified as a felony. The specific classification can vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the local laws. It often falls under categories such as vehicular manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, or second-degree murder. 

Common Scenarios 

These charges typically arise from situations where the driver was significantly impaired, exhibited reckless behavior, or had prior DUI convictions. For example, driving at excessive speeds while intoxicated or running a red light can lead to tragic accidents and serious legal repercussions. 

Legal Consequences 

In Missouri, the consequences for DUI resulting in fatality are notably severe, and the charges are typically classified as a Class B felony. If convicted, individuals may face significant prison sentences, often ranging from 5 to 15 years. Additionally, penalties can include hefty fines, mandatory alcohol and drug treatment programs, and community service.  

The court may also impose a driver's license suspension or revocation, sometimes for an extended period or permanently, depending on the severity of the offense and the individual's prior criminal record. It is crucial for those facing such charges to seek experienced legal counsel to navigate the complex legal system and potentially mitigate the penalties. 


  • Imprisonment: One of the most significant consequences is incarceration. Sentences can range from several years to life in prison, depending on the severity of the case and the jurisdiction. 

  • Fines: Monetary penalties can be substantial, often running into tens of thousands of dollars. 

  • License Suspension: Conviction usually results in the suspension or revocation of the driver's license, sometimes permanently. 

  • Restitution: Courts may order the convicted individual to pay restitution to the victim's family, covering funeral costs, lost wages, and other related expenses. 

  • Probation: In some cases, probation may be imposed with strict conditions, such as mandatory alcohol education programs and community service. 

Importance of Legal Representation 

Facing DUI charges resulting in fatality is daunting, and the stakes are incredibly high. It's essential to seek specialized legal advice to navigate this complex legal landscape. A qualified attorney can help build a defense, negotiate plea deals, and provide support throughout the legal process. 

Look for an attorney with a proven track record in handling DUI cases, particularly those involving fatalities. Many attorneys offer free initial consultations. Use this opportunity to ask about their experience, approach, and how they can help your case. Reading reviews and testimonials can provide insight into the attorney's effectiveness and client satisfaction. 


What Should I Do Immediately After a DUI Accident Involving Fatality? 

If involved in such an incident, it's crucial to contact an attorney immediately. Avoid making statements to law enforcement without legal representation, as these can be used against you in court. 

Can DUI Resulting in Fatality Charges be Reduced? 

In some cases, charges can be negotiated down to lesser offenses through plea bargains, especially if there are mitigating factors or if the evidence is not strong enough for a conviction. 

How Long Does the Legal Process Take? 

The duration of the legal process can vary significantly, from several months to years, depending on the complexity of the case and the court's schedule. 

Are There Defenses Available for DUI Resulting in Fatality? 

Yes, several defenses can be explored, such as challenging the accuracy of chemical tests, questioning the legality of the traffic stop, or demonstrating that the intoxication level did not contribute to the accident. 

You Have Rights. Use Them.  

Navigating the legal challenges of DUI resulting in fatality charges requires a deep understanding of the law and a strategic approach. The consequences are severe, but with the right legal representation, it's possible to explore defenses and negotiate outcomes that mitigate the impact on one's life. 

For those facing such charges or seeking legal advice, it's crucial to act swiftly. Contact Attorney Anthony Bretz at Bretz Legal, LLC, for a consultation. Serving clients throughout St. Louis, Missouri, including St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, and Franklin County, Attorney Bretz dedicates his time and attention to every client, ensuring they feel heard, understood, and seen. 

Don't face these charges alone. Seek the guidance of a knowledgeable attorney who can help you through this challenging time.