Vehicular homicide charges carry significant and lifelong penalties. If you or a loved one are currently facing a vehicular homicide charge in Arizona, contact AZ Defenders as soon as possible. Our Chandler vehicular homicide attorneys will thoroughly review your case and formulate the best defense strategy on your behalf.
Charges that are as serious as vehicular homicide must be handled by a trusted attorney. At AZ Defenders, we are ready to take your case.
Vehicular homicide charges are covered under A.R.S. 13-1103, which does not differentiate between this crime and other types of manslaughter in Arizona. These cases are likely to be handled and tried in the same fashion. Arizona’s manslaughter laws state that manslaughter by vehicle involves the killing of another person by a driver. A person could face these charges if, while driving a vehicle, they:
There are various factors that could lead to a vehicular manslaughter charge in Arizona. This could include:
In Arizona, manslaughter (and therefore vehicular manslaughter) is considered a class 2 “dangerous” felony. A conviction of this charge carries a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 10 years in prison. If there are certain “aggravating” circumstances involved, such as an Extreme DUI as defined by a BAC of .15 or higher, the sentencing will be even more severe.
Vehicular homicide charges must be taken seriously, as they can result in severe penalties upon conviction. A skilled Chandler criminal defense attorney is going to employ several strategies to ensure you have the best possible defense. Some possible defenses could include:
Your attorney will diligently work to obtain all evidence in your case, including video and photo surveillance, eyewitness accounts, accident reports, and more.
In a criminal case, the burden of proof is given to the prosecution. This means it is the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove that the defendant is guilty of the crime being charged beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest evidentiary standard in the justice system. In a vehicular homicide or manslaughter case, the prosecutor must establish clear evidence that the defendant is guilty of any of the following, under ARS § 13-1103:
It must be proven that the defendant caused the death of another person under circumstances where the defendant knew of yet showed a conscious disregard for a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death. This may involve many reckless behaviors behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, including texting and driving, tailgating, driving under the influence, or criminal speeding. Any gross deviation from what a reasonable driver would have done can lead to a conviction for vehicular homicide.
According to ARS § 13-1102, a person commits negligent homicide if he or she caused the death of another person with criminal negligence. This means conduct that displays a conscious disregard for the safety or life of others, such as ignoring a known or obvious risk. It is a form of recklessness, where an individual makes a significant departure from what an ordinarily prudent person would have done under similar circumstances.
Many serious driving infractions are examples of criminal negligence. If one of them results in a death in a motor vehicle accident, the defendant could be charged with negligent homicide. This is a class 4 felony in Arizona. This is a less serious offense than vehicular manslaughter, and can come with reduced penalties. Depending on the facts of your case, your lawyer may be able to have your charge reduced to negligent homicide rather than manslaughter.
Being convicted of vehicular homicide in Arizona can have a wide range of ramifications on your life. As with any felony conviction, it will result in the loss of certain privileges, such as the right to vote and bear arms. You will have a permanent criminal record that can appear in searches by landlords and employers, making it more difficult to find housing and employment. Having a felony on your record can also lead to more severe consequences should you ever get into legal trouble again.
In addition, a vehicular homicide conviction will have Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) consequences in Arizona. The MVD will revoke your driver’s license for three years, under ARS § 28-3304 and § 28-3315. At the end of the three years, your driving privileges will not be automatically reinstated. Instead, you must submit a special application that will be reviewed by the MVD, along with paying a reinstatement fee. You may only do this after paying all fines and restitution ordered, as well as completing required traffic survival school.
If you or a loved one have been charged with vehicular homicide in Arizona, seek assistance from a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately. At AZ Defenders, we are going to help you handle every aspect of your case. Our team understands what is at stake for you and your family. The goal is to formulate the best defense strategy possible in an effort to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. When you need a Chandler vehicular homicide attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling (480) 456-6400.