What Constitutes Vehicular Homicide?
Criminal vehicular homicide is a serious offense, and the consequences can be severe depending on the situation and upon representation. If you or someone you know needs assistance in dealing with a situation of vehicular homicide, here’s what you need to know.
In the state of Minnesota, vehicular homicide is defined according to statute 609.2112 as causing the death of someone else while operating a motor vehicle. This could mean, but is not limited to, standard automobiles or heavy machinery.
What Determines the Severity of the Sentence?
The sentence itself, and severity of punishment may be dependent upon the following factors:
- Driving with gross negligence.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.
- Having an alcohol concentration that is 0.08 or higher.
- When a driver who caused the incident immediately leaves the scene.
- When a driver caused the incident while operating a faulty machine that had previously been deemed unfit for use or in need of maintenance or repair.
It can also depend on the quality of your legal representation. The more of these factors that apply to a case of vehicular homicide, and the more severe the potential outcome of the sentencing could be. A previous history of negligence in related areas will be a factor as well, such as a DUI that’s already on your record.
What is Gross Negligence?
Gross negligence in a legal context means to act without regard for consequences, and how those consequences could affect others. Gross negligence could be, but is not limited to, the following:
- Regularly driving over the legal alcohol content limit, especially if you have a DUI on record.
- Ignoring a stop sign or traffic light, and then hitting a pedestrian.
- Driving while under the influence of controlled substances, especially if you have been caught and convicted for a prior offense.
- Ignoring basic safety procedures when operating heavy machinery.
- Driving far over the speed limit.
What Are the Possible Sentencing Outcomes?
It is possible to be given a prison sentence of no more than ten years in a standard criminal vehicular homicide case in the state of Minnesota. You may also have the option to pay a fine of up to, but not more than, $20,000. It’s also possible that you will be subject to a combination of prison time and fines.
However, if you have a previous conviction of driving in a negligent manner under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, or while driving over the legal alcohol limit, then you could be subject to up to a maximum of 15 years imprisonment.
How Does One Avoid Conviction of Vehicular Homicide?
Truly, there is no avoiding facing a charge of vehicular homicide in court. It is a serious criminal offense, and it will remain on record for life no matter the outcome.
The best possible approach to dealing with such a charge is not to avoid it, but to face it head on and create a plan alongside of an experienced lawyer. They will be able to help you determine your best course of action moving forward. The sooner you can create a legal plan, the more secure you can feel whenever you need to face your day in court.
Have You Been Charged With Criminal Vehicular Homicide in Minnesota?
If the answer is yes, you have options. The legal team at Anderson Law Firm, PLLC can assist you in creating a defense case, and guiding you through your options moving forward. Good representation is essential in pursuing a more favorable sentence in your upcoming trial, and having experienced and expert legal assistance is key moving forward. Contact Anderson Law Firm, PLLC today for a consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.