Vehicular Manslaughter in Philadelphia
Accidents Resulting in Death
A motor vehicle accident that results in death, even if that death was unintentional, can bring about charges of vehicular manslaughter, also known as vehicular homicide. The most common reason for these types of car accidents is the use of alcohol or somehow drug related. Because of this, a person may face separate criminal allegations (such as a DUI) in addition to
manslaughter. Most of the time vehicular manslaughter involves allegations of:
- Reckless driving
- Gross negligence
- Drunk driving
- Texting while driving
Although a person may not mean to cause harm when driving while impaired, per the law the offender is still responsible for what occurred in the collision. Killing someone with a vehicle carries very severe consequences in addition to the personal trauma of knowing that you ended someone else's life. When faced with such serious charges, you need a criminal defense attorney from The Benari Law Group to walk you through the process from the time of your arrest and inform you about your rights. Our experienced attorneys are determined not to rest until your case has resolved with the best possible result considering the severity of the alleged crime.
Philadelhpia Criminal Attorneys Explain the Legal Consequences
Vehicular manslaughter is the worst offense that can be held against a driver and can come with some harsh penalties. If you are convicted of vehicular manslaughter, you could face up to seven years in prison, have to pay up to $15,000 in fines, and have your license suspended for three years. Your penalty will depend on factors such as whether or not you have past vehicular manslaughter or DUI charges and whether you were on parole or probation. Other sentence enhancements include: unsafely passing an emergency vehicle or causing a death in a work zone.
If you are convicted of vehicular manslaughter after driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, you could face a minimum sentence of three years and a maximum sentence of ten years if one person died, and three more years added to each additional death. If aggravated factors (alcohol, drugs, willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others, driving recklessly through a construction zone, and so forth) were present in your vehicular manslaughter accusation, it is especially important that you seek legal help immediately. Other aggravating factors can include:
- Unlawfully overtaking a school bus
- Failing to remain at the scene of a collision
- Failure to stop for a police officer
- Being named a habitual offender
DUI that Leads to Vehicular Manslaughter
Being involved in an accident where there is a loss of life is a very serious matter prompting intense pursuit by the police and prosecution. If you were involved in such an accident while driving under the influence, in addition to facing significant DUI penalties, it is very probable that you will face additional charges of homicide by vehicle, most often termed vehicular manslaughter. A conviction for manslaughter while driving under the influence carries a minimum three-year prison sentence with no chance for parole until after serving the required term.
A conviction for vehicular manslaughter is a serious threat to your career, your family and your reputation but most people who are involved in a tragic accident are not career criminals, rather they are decent people who have made a serious error in judgment. If you are facing vehicular manslaughter charges, it is critical that you contact a lawyer for legal advice regarding your circumstances. The earlier our firm becomes involved in your case, the sooner we can put our proven record of success to work defending your rights and protecting your future.
Defenses to Use
If blood was drawn or urine was collected from you, while you were lying injured in a hospital bed, a defense can be crafted for you that you did not give your permission. The prosecution must show that your negligence and/or intoxication directly caused the accident. Gross negligence is when a person fails to exercise care, and this must be obvious from the vantage point of a judge and jury. Other defenses that can be used include: mistaken identity, insufficient evidence, involuntary intoxication, causation, and lack of negligence or gross negligence.
How to Protect Yourself
When an accident involves a loss of life, everything about it can seem overwhelming. You may be struggling to deal with what you have done and think that there is no point in trying to fight in your defense. Do not let yourself get caught up in the seriousness of the situation and forget that you have rights as well. There are things you can do to protect yourself and avoid a bad situation becoming even worse by accepting punishments that you may not deserve.
No matter what the circumstances were in your particular case, having a lawyer experienced with these types of crimes is vital to see that you get the help you need during this difficult time. Let someone else bear the burden of dealing with the legal aspects of what has happened, while you concentrate the personal consequences and what you need to do to get your life back. Contact Benari Law Group after you have been in an accident that resulted in loss of life, and we will defend your rights.