What is Vehicular Homicide?
Vehicular homicide involves a motor vehicle as the murder weapon whereby a driver takes the life of one or more people. This can be caused by various factors like the driver being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Others can be as a result of the driver looking away from the road for a minute, which is considered negligence.
Another cause of vehicular homicide is failing to heed traffic rules like driving at high speeds, not stopping at the lights, driving on the wrong lane, failing to break when required, among others.
This is a serious offense that is decided in a court of law where the prosecutor presents their case against you. Having a lawyer in such a case is a must to make sure you are represented accurately. We have a wide experience in the field that has led to many of our clients in such cases getting lenient penalties.
Elements of Vehicular Homicide
In NY, vehicular homicide can be classified as first degree, which refers to a class C felony while second degree is a class D felony. The conditions for first degree where one causes one or more deaths while driving are:
- Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol upwards of .18% in the blood.
- The driver had been convicted with other violations as stated in article 120.
- A prior (in the past 10 years) conviction from violating any traffic laws.
- Causing the death of a passenger who was 15 years or below.
- Was driving with a revoked license.
The conditions surrounding the second degree felony include:
- The driver was intoxicated or impaired while operating the motor vehicle.
- Was driving a vehicle that had 18,000 pounds of explosives, flammable gas or radioactive material.
- Was operating the wrong vehicle in the wrong place e.g. driving a snowmobile in a recreational area while under the influence of drugs.
Penalties for Vehicular Homicide
The penalties for vehicular homicide vary from state to state, but they are almost always severe. If it results to a criminal charge, for example, one can expect jail time if the crime is considered manslaughter, murder, negligent homicide or criminally negligent homicide. The facts surrounding the case are what determine the category of the crime.
If the cause of the vehicular homicide is intoxication, DUI/DWI laws come to play here. In New York, the conviction is more severe in such cases and thus the homicide charge can be first-degree, which has to up to 15 years in jail. Prosecutors can easily argue negligence or reckless behavior through the collected evidence.
On the other hand, a second-degree is a felony for drivers who cause death while breaking traffic rules. This includes driving in the wrong lane, which is considered a misdemeanor with a less severe penalty of a year in jail.
Victims of Vehicular Homicide
Victims of vehicular homicide can file a civil suit in the hopes of recovering some damages due to the loss they suffered. This is necessary especially since insurance companies don’t compensate for such cases. Finding a good lawyer is necessary during this traumatic time.
Our law firm has the professionals to handle your case to fruition. We cannot compensate for what you lost, but we can help you find closure.