In New York State, there are specific offenses for when a person causes the death of another through the use of a motor vehicle. This offense is vehicular manslaughter and is charged in two degrees, either being a class D or class C felony. These classes of offenses can result in significant time behind bars if not handled properly during the court proceedings so it is incredibly important that you have an attorney you can trust by your side to help every step of the way. Call now for a free consultation with one of our experienced New York criminal attorneys to discuss your case and see how we can help you.
The basics for vehicular manslaughter to be charged are that a person who is operating a motor vehicle and in doing so causes the death of another person. For vehicular manslaughter in the second degree to apply, a person must be operating a motor vehicle and does so in violation of specific traffic codes as a result of drug or alcohol consumption and they cause the death of another person. Additionally, if a person operates a motor vehicle that has a gross weight of over 18,000 and it contains explosives, radioactive materials or flammable gas and such items are the cause of the death as the result of alcohol impairment, they can be charged with this level of the offense.
The third way to be charged with vehicular manslaughter in the second degree is by operating a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol and in violation of the parks, recreation and historic preservation law and causes the death of another. To be charged with vehicular manslaughter in the first degree, a person must have committed one of the acts described above, but there are additional circumstances. One such circumstance is that the driver has a blood alcohol level of .18 or more when committing the offense.
Additionally, if the person committing the offense knew or should have known that their license was suspended or revoked or the suspension or revocation was based on a refusal to submit to a chemical test they will be charged with vehicular manslaughter in the first. If they have previously been convicted of vehicular manslaughter in the second degree within the past 10 years and are charged again, they would be charged with the higher offense, or have been previously convicted of the higher offense in the same or in any state.
Finally, if they commit this offense while there is a passenger in the car who is 15 years old or younger, or if they cause the death or more than one person, this level of the offense applies. The higher offense is a class C felony, which can mean significant time behind bars if convicted and the court decides to sentence the maximum 15 years.
If you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter in any degree, call now for a free consultation with one of our experienced New York criminal attorneys.