Here at The Phoenix DUI Blog, we are always harping on the severe punishments drivers can receive as a first-time DUI offender. The punishments are reflective of Arizona's well-known reputation of having the strictest DUI laws in the nation, and range from the installation of an ignition interlock device, jail sentences, expensive fines, and time spent in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Tent City. But the worst consequence of all - a DUI fatality - should not be overshadowed.
Although DUI fatalities were down in 2010, more than 200 people died in an alcohol-related traffic fatality last year, according to a report by the Arizona Department of Transportation.
A 26-year-old man died Friday morning when he lost control of his vehicle and drove through the landscape of a building. The driver was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from his car. Authorities believe that alcohol was a factor in the crash, according to azfamily.com.
Besides risking losing your life, you could risk spending a part or the rest of your life in prison if your DUI causes the death of another person. Drunk drivers can face vehicular manslaughter or even murder charges for causing the death of bystanders, passengers, or other drivers.
The charges depend on the severity of the situation and the extreme disregard of the driver. If prosecutors believe a drunk driver has shown a demonstrable lack of concern for human life, they could charge a person with second-degree murder which is punishable by at least 10 years in prison.
That extra shot or pint of beer may seem innocent at the time. But the risk you are taking with your own and others' lives should make you think twice before pounding them back and then getting behind the wheel. A DUI attorney can't save you from your own death.