In a Vehicular Homicide case, a person’s life has been lost. The situation is unspeakably tragic for all involved, even without any charges being filed. If you are a defendant facing a vehicular homicide charge, you are looking at serious allegations and very serious penalties. Sometimes, people are wrongly charged with this offence. They are looking at consequences that they do not deserve to face. Other times, people who did not mean to commit the offense or hurt anyone suddenly find themselves in a situation where they have done just that. Those people are dealing with enormous guilt already, and must find a way to face themselves, the victim’s family, and the legal system.
If you have been charged with vehicular assault, you should consult with one of the qualified attorneys at CGH right away. No matter your situation, the vehicular homicide attorneys at CGH can help you understand the charge you are facing and the possible penalties. They can help you form a plan for your legal defense.
As a general rule, vehicular homicide occurs in two distinct situations. First, it can occur when you operate a vehicle in a reckless manner which results in the death of a person. Second, it can occur if you are operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and cause the death of someone with your vehicle. If the victim in the case did not die you likely are facing charges for vehicular assault. To read more about vehicular assault click here.
(1)(a) If a person operates or drives a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, and this conduct is the proximate cause of the death of another, such person commits vehicular homicide.
(b)(I) If a person operates or drives a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, and such conduct is the proximate cause of the death of another, such person commits vehicular homicide. This is a strict liability crime.
(II) For the purposes of this subsection (1), one or more drugs means any drug, as defined in section 27-80-203(13), C.R.S., any controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-102(5), and any inhaled glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor or vapors, as defined in section 18-18-412.
(III) The fact that any person charged with a violation of this subsection (1) is or has been entitled to use one or more drugs under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this subsection (1).
(IV) “Driving under the influence” means driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, which alcohol alone, or one or more drugs alone, or alcohol combined with one or more drugs affect such person to a degree that such person is substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, of exercising clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.
(c) Vehicular homicide, in violation of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1), is a class 4 felony. Vehicular homicide, in violation of paragraph (b) of this subsection (1), is a class 3 felony.
Regardless of which type of Vehicular Homicide you are charged with, you are facing serious consequences if convicted. If you are charged with committing a Class 4 Felony, then you are facing a recommended range of 2-6 years in prison with 3 years of parole and fines ranging from $2,000-$500,000.[ii] If you are facing the Class 3 because you are accused of being drunk or high at the time of the accident, you are facing a recommended range of 4-12 years in prison with 5 years of parole and possible fines ranging from $3,000-$750,000.[iii]
The Court can, however, decide that prison is not an appropriate sentence. In those situations, you may be sentenced to probation, work release, community corrections, or some combination of the above.
If you have been charged with vehicular homicide, do not delay. Call one of the experienced vehicular assault attorneys at CGH today for a free consultation.
[i] C.R.S. § 18-3-106
[ii] C.R.S. § 18-1.3-401
[iii] C.R.S. § 18-1.3-401