Vehicular Manslaughter, Vehicular Homicide Charges, New Jersey Law
Morris County New Jersey Vehicular Homicide / Vehicular Manslaughter Defense Attorney, Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer
What is Vehicular Manslaughter / Vehicular Homicide?
Vehicular manslaughter (also referred to as vehicular homicide) is the legal term for the crime of causing the death of a human being due to illegal driving of a vehicle. “Illegal driving” includes gross negligence (which, the prosecution must prove), drunk driving, reckless driving, or speeding. You can be charged with vehicular manslaughter for killing a pedestrian, another motorist, or a passenger – even a loved one, in your own car.
Gross Negligence vs. Simple Negligence
In cases of vehicular manslaughter the prosecution must prove that you were driving in violation of the law or committed criminal negligence (gross negligence). Examples of gross negligence include speeding or weaving in and out of traffic lanes or failing to obey traffic lights and signs. Gross negligence may also include operating a vehicle that you knew was unsafe to drive for mechanical or other reasons including a lack of sleep (that caused you to fall asleep or nod out at the wheel.)
The particular circumstances of the accident will determine if you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime, but generally, if you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will most likely be charged with felony vehicular manslaughter.
If “simple negligence” contributed to a fatal accident (for example, if you looked down to adjust your radio and ended up in an accident) you may be charged with a lesser crime.
Wrongful Death Civil Law Suit
In addition to fines and jail time you may also be subject to a wrongful death civil lawsuit. Even if you are not convicted of a crime, New Jersey law allows the victims’ family to sue in civil court to recover the cost of medical expenses, loss of consortium (companionship), lost wages, and damages for pain and suffering.
Contact our office for a free consultation in Chester, New Jersey, to discuss your matter with William D. Ware, Esq., a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer, right away.