When you drive drunk and hit a car that carries a pregnant woman, you are already in a lot of legal trouble. However, when that woman loses her baby due to the trauma of the accident, can she sue you? How does it become a criminal offense on the same level as murder? These are all legal questions which the courts would view in the following ways, and which your DUI attorney can help resolve for you.
In any accident, and not just the ones involving a DUI, injury to other persons is classified as a vehicular assault and is already a felony. An injured pregnant woman may be considered to be two assault victims if her unborn child incurs injuries in the womb as well. The assault on the unborn child may also extend to birth defects or developmental delays after the baby is born. The laws vary slightly from state to state because of the difference in opinion regarding when a fetus is considered another living person. The fact remains that you (under the influence) still used your vehicle to injure someone else.
Killing another person, even by accident, with your vehicle is considered "vehicular manslaughter." If a pregnant woman lives, but the severity of her injuries causes the baby to be born early or self-abort and die, then you could be charged with vehicular manslaughter. That translates to "accidental murder" in most courts, but unintentional homicide is still homicide. Ergo, your lawyer will have to argue that you are very remorseful for what has occurred and that you would agree to a lesser sentence and counseling if the judge were merciful and willing to forgive a first-time offense. (However, if you are going before the judge for a repeat DUI offense that has resulted in the loss of life, you cannot get a lighter sentence.)
Fetal Death, Lighter DUI Sentences and Being Sued
In the event that you do receive a lighter sentence for a first-time DUI offense that resulted in a fetal death, you should still retain your lawyer's legal help. The mother and family of the lost baby will undoubtedly try to sue you, because they will be very upset about your sentence and feel that no justice was served for the loss of a life. After your criminal hearings for the accident, your attorney can act as your defense in court for the lawsuits that are sure to follow and for which the family has every right to sue.