Vehicular homicide might be more common than you think- especially when drunk driving is involved. Across the United States, more than thirty people die and many others are injured due to alcohol related accidents. On average, in the United States, someone is killed by a drunk driver ever forty minutes. One Google search and an astonishing number of articles pop up on your browser:
- In Mississippi, a woman has been charged with vehicular homicide, after her car collided into another car and killed a 50-year-old woman. Toxicology tests showed that the offender had cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs in her system during the time of the accident.
- A 34 year old in Billings, Montana has pleaded guilty to negligent homicide as well as failure to remain at the scene and tampering with evidence. The man was driving while intoxicated when he crashed into a building and killed a 23-year-old. A plea agreement is recommending a 10-year sentence.
- A twenty-two-year-old criminal justice major at Lincoln University was recently arrested for an alcohol-related crash in 2011 that killed one man and injured another. The student was allegedly driving over 85 mph when he lost control of his car and crashed into a tree. One passenger died as a result and the other passenger sustained severe burn injuries after being pinned in the car.
- In California, a school bus fatally struck a 75-year-old pedestrian, while eleven elementary students were on board the bus. While the 54-year-old bus driver was not drunk, California Highway Patrol reports that she was under the influence of a controlled substance.
- A 19-year-old in Bronxville, New York is fighting allegations that he caused the death of a friend while operating an ATV drunk. The Bronxville resident claims that he was driving around a curve when his friend fell off. Authorities say they could smell alcohol on the man’s breath, however. While the 19-year-old refused a breath test, the officers obtained a warrant to collect a blood sample.
- In Tennessee,, a 21-year-old male has been charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants or drugs, vehicular homicide, violating the open container law, public intoxication and reckless driving. The man was driving his car on the wrong side of the road when he struck another car head-on and killed its driver. The man told police he had started drinking seven hours before the accident and that he had drunk seven shots of rum- there was an open bottle of rum inside of the man’s SUV.
Depending on how many individuals died, if a fatality and injuries occurred and depending on an offender’s criminal record- a vehicular homicide conviction can result in up to a $10,000 fine, up to 15 years in prison and a felony mark. Other penalties an offender can incur include an extended license suspension, community service and payment of restitution to a victim’s family.
At other times, an individual can be charged with vehicular homicide for:
- Overtaking a school bus
- Fleeing the scene of a collision
- Driving recklessly
- Failing to stop for a police officer
Neither “malice aforethought nor intent to kill" is required for a vehicular homicide conviction. For an individual to be convicted of vehicular homicide, the prosecution must show that the accused was operating the vehicle that caused the victim’s death and that the accused was operating the vehicle in a reckless manner likely to cause death or great bodily harm.
A person can be charged with first degree or second degree vehicular manslaughter- depending on the details surrounding the case. Regardless of what degree you are charged with, a vehicular homicide charge is one of the most serious allegations you can be faced with and can wreak havoc on your life for years to come. If you hope to emerge from this firestorm, secure an experienced DUI defense on your side immediately!