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What to expect with an involuntary manslaughter charge

Consider for a moment what it would be like to face an escalated drunk-driving charge. Chances are you'd react similarly to many of our Columbia readers and would be incredibly scared. That's because you, like most people, understand that the decision to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol is a frowned upon action here in Missouri and across the nation. And for those who break the law, serious consequences can follow.

Most people know that if they are caught driving under the influence of alcohol they could face what is called a DUI. This offense is also referred to as a DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated. Whatever you choose to call this criminal offense, you could face negative consequences such as fines, jail sentences and the chance of losing your driving privileges. These consequences escalate though if you receive subsequent convictions later on in your life.

But did you know that getting subsequent DWIs isn't the only way to escalate a drunk-driving charge? Consider for a moment if your decision to drink and drive causes an accident that results in the death of someone else. Even though you did not intentionally kill the person, you could face an involuntary manslaughter charge that could vary in severity depending on the facts of the case.

The charge of involuntary manslaughter is considered a class C felony here in Missouri, which carries steep consequences such as a maximum of seven years in prison and as much as a $5,000 fine. Just like a regular DWI though, subsequent involuntary manslaughter charges can stack, meaning a person can face far more serious charges if this is not their first manslaughter conviction.

Source: FindLaw, "Missouri Involuntary Manslaughter Law," Accessed May 15, 2015

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