Under Iowa law, if a person unintentionally causes the death of another by driving drunk, they can be charged with vehicular homicide. This is an extremely serious charge and a conviction will have life-altering consequences.
In Iowa, a conviction of vehicular homicide carries a maximum sentence of 25 years. Under state law, the sentence cannot be suspended. Prosecutors pursue these cases aggressively, and judges are not likely to show mercy in sentencing a defendant who is convicted of this crime.
When so much is at stake, a person facing vehicular homicide charges in Iowa needs an aggressive defense strategy. It is essential to thoroughly investigate the evidence surrounding the fatal accident and the prosecution's evidence of intoxication, and challenge every possible weakness in the state's case.
One way to fight alcohol-related vehicular homicide charges is to challenge the evidence of intoxication. As in any drunk driving case, results of field sobriety tests and blood alcohol tests can be challenged on a number of grounds. If the state cannot meet its burden of proving intoxication, they will be unable to prove vehicular homicide.
It is also important to keep in mind that in a vehicular homicide case based on drunk driving it is not enough for the prosecutor to prove the defendant was intoxicated and there was a fatal accident. The state must also prove the defendant's intoxication caused the victim's death. If the defendant was intoxicated, but the accident was the fault of the other driver, the vehicular homicide charge should be dismissed.
Source: Iowa.gov, "§ 707.6A," accessed on Feb. 21, 2016