Police Overcharging Voluntary Manslaughter and DUI after a Tragic Event in Denver Colorado

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There was an interesting article in the Denver Post by Jessica Fender about an incident where a friend jumped out of a moving vehicle. The friend died from the fall. The driver is now charged with vehicular manslaughter as well as DUI and faces up to 12 years in prison. In a remarkable instance of grace, humanity, and fairness, the father of the person who died, does not think that the driver should face felony charges.
It was reported that the individuals were drinking prior to the incident. As far as the DUI is concerned, it is yet to be determined how much he was drinking, when he was drinking, and how it affected his body. More importantly, the information about his drinking certainly does not speak to his ability to safely drive a motor vehicle or whether his driving was impaired by the alcohol. So there will be numerous questions regarding the DUI that remain unanswered. Hopefully this individual will receive a fair trial and it is reassuring to see the media not portray him as a person who has been convicted but as a person whose guilt has not yet been proven.
It is tragic that this incident resulted in death but it is crucial in these moments that innocent people’s lives are not derailed by this tragedy. According to the news story, it does not appear that the driver took any actions to provoke the incident, nor that he had any involvement in the incident. He was merely a driver at a time when his friend decided
to jump out of the car. Naturally, all of the details will be unveiled in the coming months and it will be interesting to see how the State expects to prove this case. The driver had no duty to take actions to protect the passenger, nor did he take an affirmative actions to force the passenger out of the vehicle. The passenger, out of his own volition, decided to
jump out. It seems that the prosecutors may have over-played their hand on this one. But then again, the story will unfold.
Ultimately, this case will most likely develop from statements made by the defendant. If he makes it clear, from his own words, that he caused the tragedy, then he will most likely face a long jail sentence. If he did not speak or made it clear from his words that he did nothing to cause this tragedy, then it is a tragedy that he is being forced to go through a criminal trial after his friend has died.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

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Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca