Being charged with an indictable crime in New Jersey can turn your life into a nightmare. The stressful and overwhelming criminal procedures involved can place you in an extremely challenging situation. Furthermore, the legal and social implications of a criminal conviction can follow you forever.
Such is the case for those who have been convicted of vehicular manslaughter. What is this crime? How long will a sentence of this nature last? And what potential defenses you have? New Jersey vehicular homicide defense attorney John J. Zarych explains below.
How Long Can a Vehicular Manslaughter Sentence Be?
The State of New Jersey classifies crimes as indictable crimes, disorderly person offenses, and petty disorderly person offenses. Vehicular manslaughter falls into the indictable crimes category. This means it has the potential for punishing penalties and steep fines. Criminal offenses are classified by degrees, meaning the lower the number, the harsher the penalties. Vehicular manslaughter is a second-degree crime under New Jersey Law. If you are convicted of this crime, you may face up to 10 years in prison and up to $150,000 in fines. A criminal conviction of this nature will remain on your record. This can hinder your chances of finding a job, renting a home, or obtaining a loan.
What is Vehicular Manslaughter?
Vehicular manslaughter (also known as vehicular homicide) is a severe criminal charge. It can be defined as the unintentional act of killing another person as a result of a motor vehicle accident. This term should not be confused with murder. Unlike murder, vehicular homicide or manslaughter doesn’t have the “intent” element required for all murder cases. In the case of vehicular manslaughter, the defendant lacks the intention of taking another person’s life. Instead, vehicular homicide has elements of negligence attached to it. However, these elements need to be proven by the prosecution in order to prove the offense took place.
Leading Causes of Vehicular Homicide in NJ
In most cases, vehicular manslaughter charges will be issued depending on the circumstances that led to the accident. Many causes can result in vehicular homicide charges. Some of the most common reasons for vehicular manslaughter include the following:
Excess speed has been a significant source of motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. Every year, thousands of people die in accidents related to driving at high speeds. However, criminal charges related to speeding need to be proven, and a simple accusation doesn’t automatically make you guilty of vehicular manslaughter. Generally, speeding can be considered a form of negligent driving. Like any other charges, the prosecution in this type of case has the burden of proving your negligence with the court.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
DUIs are also common in car accidents and vehicular homicide cases. There are stringent laws set forth to prevent people from driving while under the effects of alcohol. Unfortunately, these types of crashes continue to happen. If you are charged with vehicular manslaughter while driving under the effects of alcohol, the prosecution will need to prove it. This means they will try to show you are guilty of the charges against you by presenting witnesses and other evidence in court. A criminal defense attorney can help you by challenging the evidence presented by the prosecution and making sure your Constitutional rights are upheld at all times.
Drowsy driving can happen when a person is exhausted or fatigued. As a result, many drivers fall asleep behind the wheel, which can lead to an accident. In order to be charged with vehicular manslaughter, the prosecution will need to show negligence on your part. It is always recommended to have an experienced legal representative by your side at all times to ensure your rights are protected through the entire process against you.
Are There Any Defenses Available to Me?
There are potential defenses to vehicular homicide charges. For instance, the prosecution may argue you had a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) over the established legal limit. However, a skilled defense attorney may challenge the procedure used to collect such evidence and the reliance of equipment used for measuring your BAC. It may be possible that law enforcement didn’t take the necessary steps to gather evidence, which can lead to a civil rights issue. A knowledgeable and experienced vehicular homicide lawyer can help you establish a robust defense for your case.
Vehicular Homicide Defense Lawyer Offering Free Consultations in NJ
If you or someone you know have been charged with vehicular homicide in New Jersey, we can help. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys are aware of the consequences of a criminal conviction, which is why we dedicate our efforts to making sure your rights and freedoms are always protected. To discuss your case in a free, confidential consultation, visit us online or contact our offices today at (609) 641-2266.