What happens in vehicular homicide case when both parties were over the legal limit and deceased driver made illegal turn?
My boyfriend is fighting a vehicular homicide case in NJ where an elderly couple lost their lives. My boyfriend was 2 points over the legal limit but is a 270 stocky guy. There were multiple witnesses including the nurse who drew his blood that said he didn’t appear impaired at all. It’s been 7 months since the accident and he is just getting access to the full police report. He just found out that the deceased driver whom was 70 years old was also impaired at the time of the accident, his BAC was 0.083. I would think alcohol would impair a frail 70 year old man much more than it would a 29 year old 270lb man. His attorney never even noticed the other parties alcohol level and states it may not make a difference because he is now deceased. The deceased man made an illegal left turn out of a driveway when my boyfriend hit him. Can they charge him without a reasonable doubt for being the cause of this accident when both parties were over the legal limit and the deceased driver actually made a left turn out of a driveway without first yielding? They are trying to give him 16 years as a plea deal. He is currently looking for new counsel so any help or advice would be appreciated!
5 attorney answers
This issue is too complicated to be answered on this website.
Your boyfriend needs to discuss all of his options with his current counsel or any new counsel he may hire, as no one here can have all of the facts given second-hand in a few sentences.
He can use the "Find a lawyer" link at the top of the screen for the names of some criminal defense attorneys near him.
Please do not message me for further advice or call my former law firm if you have any further questions. If you are in need of an attorney to assist you, please search for another attorney in the jurisdiction involved in your case, as I am now retired, and my former law firm is no longer handling these types of cases. I am active on AVVO and answer questions only as a public service at this point.
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I have handeled this exact situation before and they are very fact specific. One of the major issues that the prosecution will look at is how and who caused the accident independant of the BAC. Having said that, prosecutors have a lot of descretion in who they prosecute. Given the plea offer, he must be charged with something more. Feel free to contact my office to schedule an appointment.
Legal disclaimer: This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is based only on the limited information provided in the question.
You asked this question before and received several answers. Please do not repeat questions. The answers are not going to change.
Vehicular homicide cases are very difficult. However, if the driver made an illegal turn, it seems to me that the reason for the accident must be something that your boyfriend actually did. In other words, was the accident your boyfriend's fault. Was he speeding? 16 years is a very long time.
If he pleads guilty or is found guilty ,he could be sentenced to 20 years as there are 2 separate victims and under State v. Yarborough, there are no ''free crimes''. That being stated, a driver cannot be convicted of vehicular manslaughter without proof that the individual's reckless driving was the cause of the victim's death. You did not reveal your boyfriend's BAC.......which is the key to addressing your concerns about this case.NOTE: I have presumed that your BF was charged with vehicular manslaughter and not the more serious charge of ''agg/man" based on your actual question. I'm sorry that this is such a horrible situation for all involved.