What to Know If You're Charged With Vehicular Manslaughter in New York

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What You Need to Know if You Are Charged With Vehicular Manslaughter in New York

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Almost everyone has been in a situation where they had a drink thanks to a social occasion and got into their car afterward to go home. For most people, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. They made it home fine without any incident. They weren’t pulled over or got into an accident. However, there are times when this small decision can have life-changing consequences. You can be charged with vehicular manslaughter in New York if you’re involved in a fatal accident after drinking.

What Is Vehicle Manslaughter?

Vehicular manslaughter in New York are the laws regarding a driver or boater that have caused the death of someone else because they were operating the vehicle or boat while intoxicated. When you are charged with vehicular manslaughter in New York, there are three classifications that your charges could be under. These categories are first-degree vehicle manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, and aggravated vehicular manslaughter.

The least severe offense is second-degree. The prosecution needs evidence to show that you had drugs or alcohol in your system that put you in violation of the DWI or BWI laws of the state and that this intoxication caused the death of the person.

Some circumstances can take a second-degree offense and make it first-degree. They include your BAC being higher than .18 percent, your license was under suspicion, refusing to take a DWI test, a prior DWI conviction, more than one fatality, or the fatality was a minor under the age of 15.

Aggravated vehicular manslaughter includes many of the same potential circumstances as first-degree. It’s the most serious of charges you can face. The prosecutor must prove that you were in engaging in reckless driving to cause the accident. Also, they add the circumstance of causing one death and serious injuries to at least one other individual in aggravated vehicular manslaughter.  

What Should You Do If An Accusation Occurs?

The most important thing that you should do if you’re charged with vehicular manslaughter in New York is to take these charges very seriously. They can have serious ramifications on your life and future. Seeking out the counsel of an experienced legal professional is vital. Taking this step as soon as possible after the incident can go a long way towards protecting your future. A lawyer with prior experience with vehicular manslaughter charges can be crucial in making the best decisions possible on how to tackle your particular case. They can assist you in creating the best defense possible to refute the prosecution.

What Are Some Reasons People Have These Charges?

Often, the most common reason you are charged with vehicular manslaughter in New York is that you’ve had a drink before turning on your motor vehicle or boat. As you’re driving intoxicated, an accident occurs. You may have hit a pedestrian crossing the street and fatally killed them. You may have been involved in an accident where someone in one of the other cars involved died. This charge is also possible if one of your passengers dies as a result of you getting into an accident, whether or not other vehicles were present. The bottom line is that you had alcohol in your system and a fatal accident. The prosecution will try to find evidence that proves your intoxication was the cause of the accident.

What Are Possible Consequences, If Found Guilty?

The circumstances surrounding your arrest will play a significant role in the possible penalties that can be given. Judges can take your background and prior criminal history into account during sentencing. Each of the different categories of vehicular manslaughter is a felony.

First-degree is considered a class C felony, second-degree is a class D felony, and aggravated is a class B felony. First-degree vehicular manslaughter charges can result in up to 15 years in prison in addition to a potential fine of up to $5,000. Second-degree vehicular manslaughter also has a possible fine of up to $5,000, but you’re facing up to seven years in prison. Aggravated vehicular manslaughter is the most serious with the same maximum potential fine, but you could see up to 25 years in prison.

Getting Legal Assistance if Charged With Vehicular Manslaughter in New York

No matter what category of vehicular manslaughter you’re facing, it’s vital for you to seek out the assistance of a legal professional. Starting early in the process with an experienced attorney can be beneficial. This early start gives them the opportunity to go over the evidence, witness testimony, and other valuable information while it’s still fresh. It gives them a chance to have their own investigational team go through the circumstances of your case.

Are you going through a situation where vehicular manslaughter charges are possible in you or a loved one’s future? Contact the Law Office of Troy A. Smith Attorney at Law, PC today to discuss your case with an experienced professional. Let’s create the best defense possible to help protect your future.