Vehicular Manslaughter and Homicide Charges in Las Vegas
For people charged with vehicular homicide, a litany of mitigating factors will play into the potential legal fallout from these charges. In many instances, vehicular accidents resulting in death are the result of simple traffic accidents. In all of these instances, the loss of life is tragic especially since it is completely unintentional.
The circumstances involved in the vehicular fatality may not warrant criminal charges for individuals. Each case presents unique circumstances, but it is important to note that in the state of Nevada, any accident resulting in death where the driver had a blood alcohol level content higher than the legal limit can result in a charge of vehicular homicide or another charge of DUI causing death or substantial bodily harm.
Las Vegas Vehicle Homicide Attorney
It is imperative for you to retain legal counsel to help you with a vehicular homicide charge. Having a Las Vegas vehicular homicide lawyer wade through the details pertaining to your case in addition to representing you before and during a criminal trial will always be in your best interest. Contact Joel Mann at the Law Office of Joel M. Mann for a free consultation on how he and his staff can assist you with vehicular homicide charges.
Nevada Definition of Vehicular Homicide
Under NRS 484C.130 a driver must fall into one of these 3 categories in order to be charged with vehicular homicide:
- He or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident;
- He or she already has 3 prior DUI convictions; or
- He or she “proximately caused the death of another person while driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle on or off the highways of this State.”
The good news is vehicular homicide laws are targeted to habitual DUI offenders. However, there is a separate offense for vehicular manslaughter in Nevada that has nothing to do with DUI convictions and you may be charged with that instead of vehicular homicide if no alcohol or drugs are involved. If the prosecution believes that you have been grossly negligent in the accident or were operating the vehicle in a reckless manner without regard for life, they can charge you with the crime of vehicular homicide.
Nevada Definition of Vehicular Manslaughter
Under NRS 484B.657 the definition for vehicular manslaughter is “a person who, while driving or in actual physical control of any vehicle, proximately causes the death of another person through an act or omission that constitutes simple negligence.”
It is easy to get a charge of vehicular manslaughter because if the accident was caused by your inattention or other circumstances within your control and a death resulted, that is enough legally to charge you with vehicular manslaughter. Simple things like running through a red light, failing to yield or talking on a cell phone while driving are considered negligent.
Punishments for Vehicular Homicide
Persons charged with vehicular homicide in Las Vegas, Nevada face stiff criminal penalties for their actions, including:
Category A felony charge:
Punishable by incarceration in Nevada state prison for a potential sentence of life to twenty-five (25) years with the possibility of parole after a minimum of ten (10) years served.
It is also possible to have your license suspended or revoked for a conviction of vehicular homicide.
Things Prosecution Must Show to Convict in a Vehicular Homicide Case
Within the scope of the law, prosecutors face a three-part process in proving an individual’s guilt in a Las Vegas vehicular homicide case. Mere negligence is not sufficient in almost all instances to acquire a conviction of vehicular homicide, but rather individuals must be found guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of the following items:
- A victim, or victims, are dead from the automobile accident in question
- The death of the victim, or victims, was the direct result of the operation of a motor vehicle by the person standing accused of vehicular homicide
- The person accused of vehicular homicide had operated their vehicle in a manner that proved intent to kill, maim, or cause grievous bodily harm to the victims or others, or the person accused was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident
In such cases, the intent to cause grievous bodily harm or death of the victims or others in the vicinity is of paramount importance in convicting individuals of vehicular homicide.
In fact, in the very vast majority of instances, negligence, not criminal intent, is the highest level of guilt most drivers exhibited in accidents causing the death of others. These factors, as well as many others surrounding the accident itself, including the actions of other drivers, pedestrians, or passengers, will all be essential in any criminal proceedings regarding a vehicular homicide case in Las Vegas, Nevada. For persons standing accused of this crime, a Las Vegas vehicular homicide lawyer can help.
Possible Defenses to Vehicular Homicide
To fight the charges of vehicular homicide the defense needs to show that the driver was not the proximate cause of the passenger or pedestrian’s death. Examples include:
- The driver was not the cause of the accident or the death.
- Some extraordinary event could have caused the accident that was totally out of the driver’s control.
- The victim was the cause of the accident.
- The victim drove recklessly and caused the accident and the driver’s impairment by drugs or alcohol was not a factor in causing the accident.
Reducing the Charges
It is possible for a Nevada attorney to attempt to downgrade the charges from a Category A felony to something less. A vehicular homicide charge can be reduced to:
- Felony DUI causing Death
- Punishment is 2-20 years in prison
- Felony Reckless Driving
- Punishment is 1-6 years in prison
- $2,000 – $5,000 fine
- Vehicular Manslaughter
- Punishment is up to 6 months in jail
- A fine up to $1,000
Contact a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney for more information on how you can reduce your vehicular homicide charges or get them completely dismissed.
Law Office of Joel M. Mann | Nevada Vehicular Homicide Defense Attorney
If you or someone you needs a lawyer due to a vehicular homicide charge, contact the Law Office of Joel M. Mann for a free legal consultation. Joel Mann is a successful Las Vegas traffic criminal defense, and DUI attorney who can effectively help you deal with your vehicular homicide charge.