Vehicular Homicide in Pennsylvania
Killing a person accidentally while behind the wheel of your vehicle is a traumatic event. Taking someone else’s life leaves feelings of remorse and guilt. The impact on your emotions is so severe that you may live with it for the remainder of your life.
Of course, it is much more preferable to drive safely at all times so that you avoid any possibility of an accident in which you inflict damage on another vehicle and its occupants. However, what appears like avoidable events do take place and people get killed either as a pedestrian, a passenger or a driver of a vehicle. There is always a reason for this event to take place.
If you have been charged with vehicular homicide in York, Pennsylvania area you will need help from a competent defense attorney who has experience in dealing with this sort of offense.
Vehicular Homicide in Pennsylvania
The law in Pennsylvania defines the unlawful killing of people in several ways. Unintentionally killing a person by driving recklessly or through knowingly disregarding traffic regulations is referred to as vehicular homicide in Pennsylvania. Vehicular homicide can also be classified as a form of manslaughter.
When in court, the prosecutor has to find proof for four components of this crime in order to gain a conviction. They must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
Four Kinds of Proof Required
It must be proven that the driver drove recklessly or was grossly negligent in his or her driving behavior, next that the driver actually caused a death and thirdly that the death happened while the driver was disobeying a traffic law and finally that violating that law brought about the death.
Violating a Traffic Law
Committing a vehicular homicide, means a driver must have been violating a traffic law in a grossly negligent or reckless manner. This can include just about any vehicle or traffic safety law but the majority of vehicular homicide cases are due to dangerous behavior such as racing at illegal speeds, DUI and reckless driving.
Vehicular Homicide Penalties in York Pennsylvania
Penalties for basic vehicular homicide may include up to seven years in prison, fines of $15,000 and a license suspension of three years. Any prison sentence length will be dependent on previous vehicular homicide convictions, previous DUI convictions, and if the driver already on probation or on parole, the victims may also opt to sue you independently though their own team of car accident lawyers.
There are a number of situations when penalties can be particularly severe. These include:
When driving negligently in a work zone causes a death
When a death has been caused by passing an emergency vehicle or not stopping for an emergency vehicle.
When the consumption of alcohol, or drugs is a contributory factor in the death of a person by reckless driving. This may result in a mandatory prison sentence of a minimum of three years and up to ten years if someone was killed. Three additional years are added for each additional death.
You Will Need a York PA Defense Lawyer
If you, or a member of your family, have been arrested for vehicular homicide, then you must call a vehicular homicide PA attorney immediately. It is your legal right to have a defense lawyer to fight on your behalf. Prosecutors always go for the harsher penalties they can get away with. Your vehicular homicide charge might be blown out of proportion and the judge and jury may hand down a penalty that is far too serious. This is why you need a criminal defense lawyer who will ensure that you do not receive the harshest penalty. As long as you have remained silent before your defense has arrived you will have every chance to get any possible penalties kept to a minimum. Don’t delay. Call a York, PA defense lawyer now, so time is available to mount a good defense on your behalf.
Learn about a Traffic Ticket Lawyer next.