Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.
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Earlier this year, the driver of a trash truck collided with a train that was carrying a number of congressmen to their annual retreat. According to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the accident occurred when the truck driver attempted to drive his truck across the railroad tracks when the warning gates were down. An employee of the truck company was killed and another passenger was injured in the collision.

A Virginia grand jury later asserted that the driver was under the influence when the accident occurred, though it is unclear what substance the driver had taken. The driver was then charged with involuntary manslaughter and maiming while driving under the influence.

In the state of Virginia, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in general can result in a DUI charge and can result in hundreds of dollars in fine, license revocation for a year or more and possible jail time. However, the charges and penalties for causing permanent or significant physical impairment or death by driving while intoxicated can be much more serious.

According to Virginia law, DUI maiming conviction requires the prosecution to prove that the driver was intoxicated while driving, drove in a manner that showed a reckless disregard for human life and unintentionally caused serious bodily injury that resulted in permanent and significant impairment. Merely driving drunk is not enough to prove "reckless disregard" or criminal negligence. The prosecution will have to show that the driver knew the risk of his driving drunk but decided to do it anyway, which is difficult to establish.

However, if they can prove it, the driver will be convicted of a Class 6 felony, punishable with a minimum of one year in jail and minimum of $1,000 in fines. Generally, the driver may receive up to five years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.

If you have been charged with maiming while driving under the influence, it may be in your best interest to consider your criminal defense options. It is possible to assert a defense, challenge evidence and even clear one's name. This could help reduce or dismiss the charges against a defendant, making it vital that they consider defense strategies.

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