Wildwood Vehicular Homicide Defense Attorney
Wildwood and its surrounding towns see a massive influx of people who come into the area each summer to enjoy the world-class beaches and enjoy a little vacation. However, with so many people coming in and out there are going to be accidents that happen.
If you have been in an accident and someone has died as a result of that accident you may be charged with vehicular homicide. You should not take this offense lightly because it is one of the most serious charges that you can face in New Jersey and can carry severe penalties.
Being charged with vehicular manslaughter can change your life forever, in addition to the emotional and mental trauma that is often associated with being in an accident, if you are convicted of this serious charge you could face decades in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Don’t wait another day to take legal action. To schedule a free, completely private legal consultation, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych right away at (609) 616-4956. Our phone lines are always open. Se habla español.
Vehicular Homicide and Other Common Charges
In New Jersey, a person can be charged with vehicular ho the charge of vehicular homicide if they are involved in an accident and as a result of them driving their vehicle recklessly, they cause another person’s death.
N.J. Criminal Code 2C:11-5 provides the statutory authority and the requirements for a person to be charged and convicted of vehicular homicide. Specifically, the statute provides The statute upon which this charge is based provides: Criminal homicide constitutes vehicular homicide when it is caused by driving a vehicle or vessel recklessly. However, to convict a person the state and the prosecutor will have to prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
- That you were driving a vehicle
- You caused the death of a person
- The person died because you were driving the vehicle recklessly
It is important that anyone who has been charged with a crime understand that it is the state, and not you, that bears the burden of proving each of the above elements of the charge in order for the court to properly convict a person. In addition to this serious charge, there are often other charges that are involved. For example, on April 14th, 2016 Atlantic County prosecutors charged a woman with three counts of vehicular homicide as well as two counts of assault by auto. These charges even surprised her attorney who noted that he thought there weren’t going to be any criminal charges filed against her because he had been lead to believe that prosecutors were not going to pursue criminal charges. This highlights that often when there is such a serious charge as vehicular homicide it is often followed by other charges as well.
What are the Possible Defenses and What Can an Atlantic City Criminal Lawyer Do?
A central element of our criminal justice system and one that you have known probably since you were a young child is that a person is considered innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law. As indicated in the above, the state has to prove all of the essential elements of the crime including that you were, in fact, driving the car or vehicle, that the person died because they were involved in an accident and that the person died because you were driving your vehicle recklessly. That being said, this provides a skilled criminal attorney with multiple points to address and to raise multiple defenses in the event that you are charged with this crime. Some of these defenses that have been effectively employed include
Failing to prove an element of a crime. As explained above the State and the prosecutor has the burden of proving each of the elements of vehicular homicide beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that in order for there to be a conviction for vehicular homicide the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver of the car that caused the deadly or serious accident was the defendant. This is a surprising issue to many people and one that can cause confusion when there is more than one driver involved in an accident, or there are multiple people in the car.
Advocate in court and object to evidence. There are rules and procedures that must be followed in the judicial system. However, even though these rules are well known to police officers, lawyers, prosecutors, and police officers, it does not always mean that they abide by them. One of the most effective tools a criminal attorney has when they are defending a client who has been charged with vehicular homicide is to make objections to the evidence being used. Evidence that the prosecutor uses during their case will be used to support all of the above elements in the case in an effort to make it look to the jury that there is no reasonable doubt that you were the reason for the other person’s death. However, rules of evidence, courts, New Jersey laws and Constitution, and the United States Constitution provides that if certain rules are violated when a police officer or any other person is collecting evidence that this evidence should not be admitted into evidence and cannot be used to support the prosecutors case.
How much jail time can you face for vehicular homicide?
The fines and penalties for vehicular homicide are just as severe as the crime. Many people have called for even more stringent sentences than are already provided for, however, these have not been enacted into law yet. Before, you consider how much jail time you may face you should be aware that vehicular homicide can be charged as either a second-degree crime or the first-degree crime. In addition, and as noted above, you may face multiple vehicular homicide charges depending on the facts of your case.
A driver who drives recklessly and causes the death of another can be charged with a second-degree crime. A second-degree crime is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison. There are higher penalties involved if this charge is elevated to a first-degree crime, this is most commonly done if the accident has any relationship with schools. This includes taking place in a school zone, at a school crossing, or at any property used by schools. It does not matter if schools were closed, or if there were no children at the crossing. The sentence for this crime is 10-20 years.
Are you Facing Charges for Vehicular Homicide?
If you have been charged with vehicular homicide, the traffic violation and criminal defense lawyers of the Law Firm of John J. Zarych can fight for you. We handle matters in both NJ Superior Court and matters heard at municipal courts in Cape May County, Atlantic County, and throughout South Jersey. To schedule a no obligation initial consultation call (609) 616-4956 or contact us online today.