Should penalty for DUI + killing people be worse than penalty for just DUI?

Should the law punish drunk drivers more heavily in cases where they kill other people while doing the drunk driving?

I ask because at first blush it seems like the same crime, except for the random chance of whether a situation happens to arise that turns driving drunk into killing. In what actually happens, these two crimes are the same from the point of view of the person we’re punishing.

Though, you might argue that it’s hard to tell how outrageous the choices of a drunk driver are, and the fact that one happens to kill people is additional evidence that they are too drunk, too uncaring, too willing to take chances, and so forth.

Yes, in the same way attempted murder will get you a much lesser sentence than actually committing murder.

We put enough people away for extended periods of time. Let’s not figure out ways to make that worse. Not every drunk is irredeemable, and sometimes people simply make mistakes.

What? We should punish people that kill other people. What are you trying to say?

Assuming we have free will, yes.

Yes, the crime may have been the same but the damage done is vastly different.

I live in the city. If I have a handful of papers to burn and throw them in a bucket to burn them, I’d probably need a burn permit and could get a small ticket/fine without one. But c’mon, it’s really no biggie, right? But if an ember landed on my neighbors house while they were asleep, burnt down the house and killed the whole family, should I just get a $40 ticket?

This is so obvious.

I’m trying to say exactly what I said. Someone who kills someone should receive a more severe sentence than someone who doesn’t.

The OP is essentially asking about the philosophical concept of Moral Luck as it relates to unintentional and unpredictable consequences of decisions. A person who commits DUI and accidentally kills someone due to intoxication and a person who commits DUI but doesn’t kill anyone because there was no one around both had the same mental intent to do what they did, and neither had any specific intent, desire, or indifference to harming anyone. The question of moral luck asks us whether this should affect our moral judgment of these people.

But it’s not just luck. Being drunk behind the wheel doesn’t cause other people to die. Being drunk and not driving safely does.

I know. The comparison is between someone drunk behind the wheel and not driving safely who kills someone who happens to be in the area versus someone drunk behind the wheel and not driving safely who doesn’t kill anyone because, for reasons beyond the control and ken of the drunk person, nobody else is around to be killed. Maybe they all went to Florida for the weekend and forgot to tell the drunk driver.

New Year’s Eve - Person A fires a bunch of celebratory shots into the air.

New Year’s Eve - Person B fires a bunch of celebratory shots into the air and one of them hits and kills someone.

I want to charge B with the more serious offense but beyond a convenient “intent follows the bullet” rationalization, I can’t exactly say why.

That is exactly what Moral Luck is. The intent and knowledge of Person A and Person B were exactly the same, and also assume that their knowledge of firearms are the same and that they have the same kind of gun with the same kind of ammo, and everything else that is relevant is also the same - except for the fact that innocent bystanders might or might not be in any specific location, something that neither person can sufficiently predict in order to protect them from falling bullets.

Why not look to how other traffic offenses are handled?

Speeding vs Speeding and kill somone
Crossing the double yellow line vs Crossing the double yellow line and killing someone.
Failure to yield etc…

Sometimes an accident is just that - a tragic accident
Sometimes an accident arises because of depraved indifference (scale?)

Why is the exact same intent and act treated differently.

On the one hand, I want the killer appropriately punished
On the other - if the intent and action is identical - what makes one worse than the other?

Do we punish the bank robber who stole $5 million worse than the bank robber who only stole $5?

Easy. Person A is charged with illegal discharge of a firearm. Person B is charged with illegal discharge of a firearm, plus criminal negligence causing death.

They were equally criminally negligent.

Yes, but only one of them actually caused a criminal result. It’s a bedrock principle of criminal law that the result is more significant than the act. That’s why a guy who kills with one punch goes away for life while a guy who hits the guy fifty times but fails to kill him doesn’t.

If that were true, the sentence (and prosecutorial zeal) for vehicular manslaughter would be much closer to that for murder.

ETA: I will agree that we usually treat the result as more important–but not that much more. Actual practice does not evince this as a bedrock principle.

person A is attempted murder - victim is unknown, unfortunately

person B is murder

Both are negligent discharge of a firearm.

(contrast that with doing this @ a firing range - and a ‘ricochet’ happens - they weren’t negligent and its clearly unintentional - the ‘negligent discharge’ brings it to attempted murder.

Same with drunk driving - no accident still == attempted murder -they just got lucky.

You make these penalties more severe and legitimately enforced - you will see a downturn in the number of cases.

(I know, “attempted murder” by def has to have an actual target - but the idea is still there - you just got lucky no one died)

I object to the two interrelated ideas of someone facing a very long prison term for reckless behavior that COULD have resulted in something terrible, but didn’t; or for light prison terms for someone who did something that DID result in something terrible but in other circumstances it might not have occurred.

Take in the first case an arrest for speeding. Should someone be tried for murder because they were caught going 15 mph over the limit? After all, they could have lost control and crashed into a bus full of nuns, killing them all.

Or, in the second case, let’s say someone crashes into a bus of nuns, killing them all. Should he receive a $350 fine and two points on his license?

Luck may have a relation to how bad any criminal act turns out, but in the end, I think we have to have a justice system that is based on what actually happened, as opposed to speculating “what could have happened if…” and punishing someone based on conjecture and imagination.

The driving and the killing are two different offenses, DUI and typically, Vehicular Manslaughter. Although that can vary. I know a guy who was done for DUI + Murder2, because he was raging at his wife, left in the car and while talking to her on the cellphone, threatened to kill himself. The conversation went silent when he deliberately ran head-on into another car, killing both occupants instantly. He somehow survived the crash, only to spend at least the next 20 years in jail.