The Atlanta DUI News Blog

Fatal DUI Accidents More Often Being Charged As Murder

The murder conviction of Andrew Gallo for a drunk driving crash that killed rookie Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart is part of a growing trend, the Associated Press reported. Simply stated, states are becoming less forgiving of motorists whose impaired driving results in fatal DUI accidents.

Andrew Gallo claimed he was too drunk to know what he was doing when he decided to drive that night. But he had received a written warning from the court that he would be charged with murder if he killed someone while under the influence.

Orange County, California, which has convicted 11 DUI defendants of murder in the past two years, has gained a reputation for being particularly tough on offenders. But similar legal strategies are gaining hold in other parts of the country as well.

Georgia DUI attorneys could probably better explain how the Peach State charges defendants whose impaired driving results in the deaths of others. But the more standard charge for a fatal DUI is vehicular homicide (or manslaughter), which carries a much lighter sentence than murder.

Laura Dean-Mooney, national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, noted a trend among prosecutors of charging those with murder who have prior DUI convictions and kill someone under the influence or kill multiple individuals.

In one highly publicized case, a New York man was convicted of murder for a DUI crash that resulted in the decapitation of a 7-year-old flower girl on her way home from a wedding. And a Missouri man with three prior DUI convictions was convicted of second-degree murder after killing a 19-year-old man while driving drunk.

Lawrence Taylor, a lawyer who defends DUI suspects, questions the use of murder charges in fatal DUI cases:

"Some very ambitious prosecutors think they can fly a murder case by calling it malice and it got to be a fad. I don't think there is any sense or logic or honesty or justice in that."

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