The Death Penalty for DUI?
Information courtesy of Lawrence Taylor - DUIblog
Yes, the death penalty. In a drunk driving case. In these United States. For murder......
No, not involuntary manslaughter. Not vehicular homicide. Murder. And first-degree murder. As in pointing a gun at someone and pulling the trigger. MADD has been so successful in their political pressure campaigns that theyve actually gotten some courts and legislatures to create a new type of crime: DUI murder.
Wait a minute, you say. I thought you had to INTEND to kill a person before its murder. You have to "premeditate" and that kind of thing, right?
Well, yes and no. Each state is a little different, of course, but most follow similar laws. And those laws generally break a homicide ("the killing of another human being") into different categories. The first is excusable homicide -- where, because of self-defense or other justification, the death is not considered a crime. Next is "manslaughter" -- basically, a killing that is not murder. There are usually two kinds of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter is sometimes called a killing in the "heat of passion"; you lacked the time or ability to reflect on the act. Involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional homicide: you didnt mean to do it, but you caused a death by your negligence or recklessness.
When a drunk driver causes an accident in which someone is killed, he is usually going to be facing involuntary manslaughter charges. Some states use different terms, such as "vehicular manslaughter" or "vehicular homicide". Either way, the death was unintentional, but it was caused by the drivers negligent or reckless conduct.
And then theres murder. Thats what you see on TV and read about in the papers: someone plans to kill someone else and, in cold blood, takes his life. But just to complicate things, in most states there are two kinds of murder: first degree and second degree. Murder in the first degree usually requires meaningful premeditation: you thought about it, planned it, carried it out. Second