In the state of New Jersey, if a driver causes another person’s death as a result of driving recklessly, they can be charged with vehicular homicide, or death by auto. This is a second-degree charge and comes with serious penalties including fines, license suspension, and hefty prison sentences. Examples of reckless driving include excessive speeding, drowsy driving or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In order to be convicted of vehicular homicide, there must be proof that the reckless driving was the cause of death. If you have been charged with vehicular homicide, it is crucial that you contact an experienced South Jersey criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
Behavior that can Result in Vehicular Manslaughter Charges
- Negligent Driving: Negligence, or inattention while driving, can be considered vehicular manslaughter if it results in another person’s death.
- Criminal, Culpable or Gross Negligence: More egregious than simple negligence, this happens when a driver displays a reckless disregard for others’ safety, thus causing another person’s death.
- Driving While Intoxicated: Proving that a driver was intoxicated is an indication that a driver was negligent. A blood, urine, or breath test can prove whether the driver had drugs or alcohol in his or her system when the accident took place.
- Violating Rules of Safety: Vehicular manslaughter can occur when another person is killed because a driver disregards signs, speed limits, or does not properly maintain his or her car.
- Driving While Drowsy: If a driver acts negligently such as getting behind the wheel after very little sleep, working a double shift, and/or staying up all night studying for exams, resulting in another person’s death, this can be considered vehicular manslaughter.
Vehicular homicide is a serious offense, as are the penalties. Under certain circumstances, a vehicular homicide can become a First Degree charge, resulting in much harsher penalties. Examples of these include:
- Incident takes place on school property, or within 1,000 feet of school property
- Incident takes place while driver is operating a vehicle through a school crossing
- Incident takes place in a non-school zone, but driver was aware of children’s presence
- Incident takes place on property regularly used by schools
Penalties for First and Second Degree Vehicular Manslaughter
A Second Degree charge of vehicular manslaughter, or death by auto, comes with a five to ten year prison sentence and fines up to $200,000. A First Degree charge will be imposed if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving, refuses breathalyzer test, or was driving with a revoked driver’s license. Under these circumstances, the court will call for a minimum prison term of either one-third to one-half of the sentence, or three years, whichever is greater.
Cherry Hill Criminal Lawyers at Gigliotti Law Group Represent Clients Charged with Vehicular Manslaughter
If you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter, contact the South Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Gigliotti Law Group as soon as possible so that we may examine the details of your case and determine the best course of action. We will provide you with the experienced, aggressive legal counsel you need to successful fight the charges and reach the best possible outcome. We represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Gloucester County, Cumberland County and Salem County. For a confidential consultation, call us at 844-742-7591 or contact us online.