Not all accidents that result in deaths result in homicide or manslaughter charges for the at-fault driver. Nevertheless, there are circumstances where a vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter charge may be applied.
- The driver was extraordinarily negligent; for example, were texting while driving or were traveling far above the speed limit.
- The driver was driving recklessly in such a way that they knew or should have known that they were putting another person’s life in danger.
- The driver was intoxicated at the time of the collision.
- The driver intentionally killed someone using their vehicle as a murder weapon.
Here are the three potential charges.
You can be charged with vehicular manslaughter if your conduct is unusually negligent. This would cover cases where you killed someone because you were texting while driving, driving far above the speed limit, or taking other actions that carried a substantial and unjustifiable risk to others.
The penalties include a maximum of $10,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison.
Criminally Negligent Homicide
Criminally negligent homicide covers cases where the driver didn’t necessarily know their conduct was reckless enough to put others at risk but still acted dangerously or negligently. It’s a lesser charge than vehicular manslaughter.
The penalties include a maximum of $10,000 in fines and up to 2 years in state jail.
Intoxication manslaughter covers cases where a driver was intoxicated at the time of the collision. DUI/DWI is, of course, itself a crime, but it’s a far worse one when your actions lead to the death of another person.
It can cover killing someone while intoxicated and operating a vehicle, watercraft, aircraft, or even an amusement park ride.
The penalties include fines of up to $10,000 and up to 20 years in prison and may be elevated to a first-degree felony if the victim was an on-duty police officer, firefighter, or EMS worker. You may also face 2 years of driver’s license suspension.
Additional aggravating factors include having prior convictions, having a minor child in the car at the time of the crash, or a BAC of .15%.
Vehicular homicide is a felony murder charge. The prosecution must provide evidence of malice; that is, they must show you truly intended to harm another person.
You may also be charged with vehicular homicide if you used the car to kill someone while fleeing the scene of a felony crime.
Get Help Today
If you killed anyone during a car accident, you should be ready to hire a criminal defense lawyer at a moment’s notice. There’s a good chance you will face criminal charges in addition to whatever civil penalties you might have to grapple with.
Contact our office to get help today.
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