Vehicular Homicide charges (N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5, “Death By Auto Or Vessel”) can be crushing for a defendant, who likely left home that day with no inkling that by the end of it, one person would be dead and they would be at fault.
The charges may have stemmed from conduct that prosecutors deem to be reckless, such as talking or texting on your cell phone while you drive, or operating a vehicle while you’re too tired to safely do so.
These cases are tragedies, but they are also crimes of the second degree.
If convicted of Vehicular Homicide in these circumstances, you can face a prison sentence of five to 10 years and fines of up to $150,000.
Drunk or drug-impaired driving that results in an accidental death is prosecuted the same way.
In cases where a drunk or drug-impaired driver accidentally kills someone on or near school grounds or in a crosswalk, the charge rises to that of the first degree and your possible sentence rises to ten years or more.
Fines go up to a maximum of $200,000.
Whatever the circumstances that lead to a vehicular homicide charge under 2C:11-5, the jeopardy you’re facing doesn’t end with the criminal proceedings.
Many, many people in this situation end up bankrupted by civil courts when a victim’s family brings a wrongful death suit and seeks damages.
Being charged with Vehicular Homicide creates a complex web of risks that have to be addressed forthrightly.
Call Matthew Reisig today at 732-625-9661 for a free consultation with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney.