Vehicular homicide, also referred to as vehicular manslaughter in some state statutes will usually relate to an incident where a driver has unintentionally killed someone else on the road. The incident will occur either from negligent driving or while committing an unlawful act on the road, and this death is considered a crime, even though it is an accident.
Most states have some type of vehicular homicide law. The exceptions are Alaska, Arizona, and Montana. However, drivers can still be charged with manslaughter or murder in some situations in these states as well.
Finding a qualified attorney can help you sort through the specific laws in your state so that you can understand what the best possible defense will be given your case. Contacting a lawyer will give you the objective side of the law so that you can more clearly determine where you stand when it comes to sentencing and penalties. If you have been falsely charged with manslaughter, an attorney can also give you guidance so that the charges will be dropped when you go to court.
A person charged with vehicular homicide is a person that had an accident on the road that resulted in someone else’s death. This does not mean that the person is a hard criminal or will face as serious penalties as if the homicide was intentional.
Vehicular Homicide (Manslaughter) Laws
Most states have a law regarding the death of someone that is killed in an accident by another person. However, these laws will vary greatly, and there are some states that will place additional penalties on a driver if a mother carrying an unborn child was also killed in the collision.
The person killed can also be outside of the vehicle, for instance, a pedestrian or a bicyclist. Vehicular homicide can also be applied to a person in the driver’s own vehicle, if, for instance, a passenger is killed in an automobile accident.
Vehicular Homicide Penalties
The penalties associated with vehicular homicide will also vary greatly depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. If a person was intoxicated while driving, the penalties will be harsher than if the person was merely driving negligently on the road.
First-degree vehicular homicide is considered a felony. A person convicted of first-degree vehicular homicide will typically spend 3 and 15 years in prison. If you have already committed vehicular homicide or manslaughter, the sentencing for first-degree will be between 5 and 20 years.
Second-degree vehicular homicide is a misdemeanor offense, and this crime will have a much lower penalty than first degree. Typically, you will have to pay a fine of not more than $1000 and spend 1 year in jail (maximum).
Legal Help With a Vehicular Manslaughter/Homicide Charge
It is very important to discuss all of your options with a licensed attorney to determine the best way to defend your case. An attorney will be able to discuss the specific reasons behind why you were charged with vehicular homicide, and what you can do to defend your rights in court.