Vehicular Homicide (Death by Auto or Vessel)
In New Jersey, vehicular homicide is a criminal charge resulting from a death caused by driving a vehicle or vessel recklessly. Recklessness can be established in a number of ways, such as excessive speeding, sleep deprivation or intoxication. Proof that the driver fell asleep while driving or was driving after having been without sleep for a period in excess of 24 consecutive hours may give rise to an inference that the defendant was driving recklessly. Proof of intoxication in violation of New Jersey DWI/DUI laws gives rise to an inference that the defendant was driving recklessly. Having said that, a vehicular homicide conviction requires proof that reckless conduct must be the cause of the death. If you have been charged with Death by Auto, it is vital that you speak with an experienced New Jersey Vehicular Homicide Defense Attorney who can evaluate your case and prepare a strong defense.
Criminal Penalties for Vehicular Homicide in New Jersey
Vehicular homicide in New Jersey is a Second Degree Crime. A conviction of Death by Auto, second degree, calls for a term of imprisonment of five (5) to ten (10) years in New Jersey State Prison. If the defendant was operating the motor vehicle in violation of New Jersey DWI/DUI laws, refuses to submit a breath sample or was driving with a revoked driver’s license, the Court will impose a minimum term of imprisonment between 1/3 to 1/2 of the sentence imposed, or three (3) years, which ever is greater.
In certain circumstances, Death by Auto is a crime of the First Degree if the defendant was driving in violation of New Jersey DWI/DUI laws or refused to submit a breath sample and the accident occurred (1) on school property, (2) in a school crossing or (3) at any property used by schools. A conviction of Death by Auto, First Degree, calls for a term of imprisonment of ten (10) years to twenty (20) years in New Jersey State Prison. The Court will, again, impose a minimum term of imprisonment between 1/3 to 1/2 of the sentence imposed, or three (3) years, which ever is greater.
Anyone convicted of Death by Auto is also subject to extensive license suspensions and large fines and penalties. If you have been charged with Death by Auto or Vehicular Homicide in New Jersey, you are facing criminal charges with significant consequences. Call to schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help defend your complex case.