Articles Posted in Vehicular Homicide

July 17, 2018

Anatomy Of A Successful Dismissal Of A DUI & Vehicular Homicide While DUI Charge

By Brian Manchester

My client was charged with multiple charges relating to the death of his passenger while he was driving his 4-wheeler on a road. Here’s how I got his charges dropped:

Relevant facts

After he was questioned by the police, he was taken to a local hospital where his blood was drawn. The hospital-based blood test result was a little over .03 which is 250% BELOW the legal limit of .08 for a DUI in Pennsylvania.

The prosecutor was not pleased with this result so an expert was retained by them who did a report that my client’s blood was greater than .11 at the time of the accident. The government’s expert used a process called retrograde extrapolation. Retrograde extrapolation is a dubious scientific technique that even the foremost blood test experts in the world including A.W. Jones cautions against using.

Using Real Science To Debunk Bad Science

Compounding the bad science of retrograde extrapolation, the blood test used on my client was a hospital based enzymatic method. While hospital-based blood tests for alcohol are fine for medical purposes, they are severely inadequate and not scientifically supported in the legitimate scientific realm of experts.

These tests are subject to false positives and large uncertainty. Forensic traceability of the tests results is missing and the uncertainty in the results are huge.

Because I had previously looked into the blood testing method used on my client’s blood, as had my expert, we were prepared to take this blood test on before this incident ever happened. In fact, I lectured on the problems with hospital-based blood tests several times nationally.

Filing Motions To Exclude Evidence

So, when I was retained by my client and I identified the method used for testing his blood, I filed several motions in limine (a motion to exclude evidence) to not only attack the scientific problem of retrograde extrapolation, but also the issues with the hospital-based blood test.

The day before the hearing the government’s expert then said he could not opine on the retrograde analysis that he in two different reports said he could. The District Attorney then called me and told me he was dismissing the DUI and Vehicular Homicide While DUI Charge.

This was a great victory for my client and is proof that Pennsylvania DUI charges and even the more serious Pennsylvania Vehicular Homicide While DUI charges can be successfully defended. It can only be done with knowledge of the many different sciences used in the testing of blood as well as the laws pertaining to admission of scientific evidence. That and knowing the right experts to use.

If you are facing a Pennsylvania DUI charge or a Pennsylvania Vehicular Homicide While DUI charge call my law firm at 1-800-243-4878 for a complete and thorough analysis of your case.

Posted in: Vehicular Homicide ,

July 17, 2018

Vehicular Homicide While DUI

By Brian Manchester

Vehicular Homicide While DUI; A Second Degree Felony

Have you or someone you know been charged with Homicide by Vehicle While Driving Under the Influence? This charge is also well-known as “Vehicular Homicide While DUI” or “Vehicular Manslaughter While DUI,” and has serious consequences of up to ten years in prison along with a $25,000 fine for each death caused.

Homicide by Vehicle While DUI is a second degree felony, and the fact that the death was an accident does not mean that the driver is innocent of the charge. The specific charge is codified into law as the following:

  • 3735. Homicide by vehicle while driving under influence.

(a)  Offense defined.–Any person who unintentionally causes the death of another person as the result of a violation of section 3802 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance) and who is convicted of violating section 3802 is guilty of a felony of the second degree when the violation is the cause of death and the sentencing court shall order the person to serve a minimum term of imprisonment of not less than three years. A consecutive three-year term of imprisonment shall be imposed for each victim whose death is the result of the violation of section 3802.

It Is Crucial To Hire An Attorney, Especially Prior To Speaking With Police

Given the severity of this charge, it is crucial to hire a defense attorney as soon as possible, and ideally prior to speaking with the police.  When someone dies in a traffic accident, police officers immediately arrive on the scene and will attempt to question you as part of their homicide investigation.

You should be polite, but refrain from talking to the police until you have retained a criminal defense attorney to be present with you during all police communications.

How Brian Manchester Is Trained For Success

Brian Manchester has extensive training in DUI defense and is even a member of the National College for DUI Defense, the American Chemical Society, and the Society of Forensic Toxicologists. Brian Manchester also regularly attends seminars that specifically focus on DUI defenses, and he was also the Educational Chairman for the Pennsylvania Association of Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys.

Your Options

As you can see, Homicide by Vehicle While Driving Under the Influence is a very serious offense, and it is important to know your options if charged with this crime. Do not assume you will be convicted, as our attorneys will discuss with you ways in which we can create a reasonable doubt about your guilt should the case go to trial.

Alternatively, we can carefully negotiate a plea deal that would reduce your charges in exchange for a guilty plea. Whichever route turns out to be best for you, Manchester & Associates has experienced criminal defense attorneys that will fight for you and your rights. For a free consultation, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.

Posted in: Vehicular Homicide ,

July 17, 2018

Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle

By Brian Manchester

Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle Is a Life-Changing Offense

If you were involved in a traffic accident that resulted in the death of another driver or pedestrian, you may be charged with Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle. We understand this may be an extremely difficult and emotional time for you, and the legal implications further exacerbate the situation. Brian Manchester can help you through this process by explaining your rights and options, and aggressively defending you throughout the entirety of your case.

How Are You Charged?

Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle is the unintentional killing of another person by breaking a traffic law while engaging in reckless or grossly negligent driving. The charge is a third-degree felony, and the penalty is up to seven years in prison, $15,000 in fines, and a suspension of license for up to three years.

In addition, time may be added to the prison sentence if the accident occurred in a work-zone or while the driver was texting. Thus, Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle is functionally the same as Vehicular Homicide. Remember, more severe is a DUI Homicide by Vehicle conviction, which is a second-degree felony and the penalty is up to ten years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

To be convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle in Pennsylvania, conduct more than mere speeding is required. The most common way the prosecutor establishes someone’s guilt is by proving they were driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs.

However, driving without any lights, driving on the wrong side of the road, racing with another car, or any other example where the driver was committing a serious traffic violation and a death occurred can lead to a conviction for this charge.

In addition to prove you were driving recklessly or in violation of a traffic law, the prosecutor must also prove that your driving is what actually caused the death to the other driver or pedestrian. You cannot be convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle if your traffic violation was not a direct and substantial factor in causing the other party’s death.

Thus, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney like Brian Manchester to raise defenses that create a reasonable doubt about the causation of the death.

Defenses include:
  • Establishing the death occurred at a time in which you were not committing the traffic violation.
  • The victim was partly responsible for the accident, or some other event (like rainy conditions) played a role in why the accident happened.
  • The evidence against you is weak or ill-gotten, and much more.

If the jury has a reasonable doubt about any one of the above three elements, you must be found innocent.

Brian Manchester has been a criminal defense attorney for almost twenty years and can make sure you do not forego these defenses. For a free consultation, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.

 

Posted in: Vehicular Homicide ,