Vehicular Homicide Charges
If you have been accused of vehicular homicide, you have the right to fight the charges. An experienced attorney can help. At Pearson & Paris, P.C., we have more than 50 years of combined legal experience that we will use in your defense. Perhaps more importantly, our top criminal defense attorney is a former senior prosecutor who knows how district attorneys handle these cases. That knowledge allows us to create effective strategies ranging from negotiation to courtroom battles.
Whether in the Denver area or anywhere in Colorado, vehicular homicide occurs in one of two distinct manners: (1) A person operates or drives a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, and such conduct causes the death of another person, or (2) A person operates or drives a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and such conduct causes the death of another person.
Under reckless vehicular homicide, the prosecution must prove that the reckless nature of the driving was such that it is apparent to a reasonable person that a traffic accident may result that involves death. It is not necessary that a driver know that his or her driving will result in death.
Possible Consequences For Vehicular Homicide
If convicted of vehicular homicide that is based on reckless driving, a person faces sentencing for a class 4 felony of: (1) probation, with a possible jail sentence as a condition of probation of up to 90 days, or up to a two-year work release sentence as a condition of probation, or (2) a sentence to the Department of Corrections of two to six years, but as much as 12 years if the court finds the presence of exceptional circumstances, with a mandatory parole period of three years.
If convicted of vehicular homicide that is based on driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a person faces sentencing for a class 3 felony of: (1) probation, with a possible jail sentence as a condition of probation of up to 90 days, or up to a two-year work release sentence as a condition of probation, or (2) a sentence to the Department of Corrections of four to 12 years, but as much as 24 years if the court finds the presence of exceptional circumstances, with a mandatory parole period of five years.
It is also important to note that conviction for vehicular homicide will result in a mandatory revocation of your driving privileges.
Possible Defenses For Vehicular Homicide
Whether a person is charged with reckless vehicular homicide or DUI-related vehicular homicide, the general approach to defending a vehicular homicide charge remains the same. First, it is important to reconstruct the accident using a qualified expert, including scene measurements and scene observations of skid marks, gauge marks, yaw marks and other physical evidence. Second, the defense will center on establishing that the driver was not reckless. Merely engaging in bad driving is not sufficient to trigger recklessness. More is required to show that the driver “operated or drove his vehicle with a conscious disregard to a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a particular result will occur or that a circumstance exists.” If alcohol or drugs were a factor, then we must also consider all of the defenses available in any DUI case.
The remaining defenses that may be applied in a motor vehicle theft case apply with equal force to those that may apply in any other criminal case. This includes an analysis of any violation of constitutional rights, such as the right to remain silent, the right to counsel, the right to have any searches and seizures based on probable cause, a proper warrant, and the right to due process in the proper preservation of evidence that may be used against you. Many other defenses are available that rely on scrutinizing and exposing weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, such as biased or incompetent witnesses, flawed crime scene investigation, flawed administration and procedures in collecting breath, blood or urine for forensic testing, incompetent computer evidence, flawed photo lineups and inaccurate crime scene/accident reconstructions.
It is important that you hire a skilled and experienced lawyer to defend you in a vehicular homicide case in Lakewood or Jefferson County or across Colorado.