July 17, 2018By Brian Manchester
If you were involved in a traffic accident that resulted in the death of another driver or pedestrian, you may be charged with Vehicular Homicide.
We understand this may be an extremely difficult and emotional time for you, and the legal implications simply 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.
Vehicular Homicide 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, Vehicular Homicide is functionally the same as Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle.
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 Vehicular Homicide 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 proving 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 of the other driver or pedestrian. You cannot be convicted of Vehicular Homicide 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, or the victim was partly responsible for the accident, or some other event (like rainy conditions) played a role in why the accident happened, or 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 that you do not forego these defenses. For a free consultation, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.
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