Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyers for Vehicular Homicide Charges in Denver, CO
If you operate a motor vehicle in a reckless manner and end up causing an accident that leads to another person’s death, you could be charged with vehicular homicide. These criminal charges are not ones you should take lightly, as prison time and hefty fines are likely on the horizon following a conviction for vehicular homicide in Colorado.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident that resulted in the death of another individual, it is in your best interest to seek adept legal representation as soon as possible. At WeedenLaw, our Denver criminal defense attorneys have handled all kinds of criminal charges in Colorado, including those involving vehicular homicide. Our legal team knows what is at stake when facing a conviction for such a charge, which is why we fight tirelessly and aggressively for those who have found themselves in a terrible situation such as this.
What is Vehicular Homicide?
A person commits vehicular homicide when they engage in reckless driving behaviors and/or drive under the influence of alcohol or with one or more drugs in their system and cause an accident that results in the death of another person or people. Vehicular homicide, sometimes referred to as vehicular manslaughter, is a strict liability crime. This means that regardless of the intent or mental state of the defendant at the time of the accident, they are strictly liable for the death that resulted.
Definition of Vehicular Homicide
The crime of vehicular homicide in Colorado can be found in C.R.S. 18-3-106, which states the following:
“If a person operates or drives a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, and such conduct is the proximate cause of the death of another, such person commits vehicular homicide.”
In other circumstances, if a person does not die in the motor vehicle accident but is otherwise seriously injured, the defendant may be charged with vehicular assault. The statutes for vehicular assault can be found in C.R.S. 18-3-205.
Is Vehicular Homicide a Felony?
Under Colorado Law, both vehicular assault and vehicular homicide are considered felony charges. Whether or not the accident resulted in a death and whether or not the responsible driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident determines the classification of the felony.
In a vehicular homicide case involving reckless driving, the defendant faces a Class 4 felony. Meanwhile, in a vehicular homicide case involving a DUI, the charge increases to a Class 3 felony. Reckless driving that causes only serious injury but not death (vehicular assault) is typically considered a Class 5 felony in Colorado.
Vehicular Homicide Sentence in Colorado
As we briefly mentioned before, vehicular homicide is a strict liability crime in Colorado, meaning intent and mental state do not have to be proven in order to be held liable for the alleged offense. With this in mind, if convicted of such a felony, you face substantial fines and lengthy prison time.
The minimum sentence for vehicular homicide in Colorado is two years in prison and $2,000 in fines. Keep in mind, this is only for cases wherein the defendant was driving recklessly. The maximum sentence for this Class 4 felony is six years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.
Convictions for vehicular homicide cases involving DUI or DWAI, which is a Class 3 felony, may result in anywhere between four to twelve years in prison and fines between $3,000 and $750,000.
The penalties don’t just stop there, though. Those convicted of a DUI may also face the loss or suspension of their driver’s license, as well. DUI and DWAI crimes, as well as vehicular assault and vehicular manslaughter, are NOT eligible for record sealing in Colorado. This means these charges will follow you around for life, potentially impacting future professional and personal endeavors. As we’ve seen in many cases, the victim’s family may also choose to pursue a wrongful death case against you in civil court.
Why You Need a Denver Vehicular Homicide Defense Lawyer
Facing a vehicular manslaughter charge in Colorado can be a harrowing experience, especially without the right criminal defense team on your side. From the initial arrest, it is imperative that you have a skilled Denver criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and the integrity of your case. Remember, you have the right to remain silent until your attorney is present, so simply inform officers that you will not be speaking until Jeff Weeden is sitting beside you.
To secure a guilty verdict, the prosecution must be able to show that the defendant was either driving recklessly or under the influence at the time of the accident, and either of those factors was the proximate cause (or probable cause) of the victim’s death. For example, they may try to prove the defendant was driving recklessly from security camera footage or witness testimony. Without either of these elements of proof, Mr. Weeden may be able to create reasonable doubt that you were ever driving in a reckless manner.
For a DUI-related case, the prosecution must prove the defendant’s blood alcohol rate was over the legal limit or that drugs were detected in his or her system. These test results may only be valid if the tests were conducted at the time of the accident or at least within a reasonable time following. This is another of the many legal defense avenues our Denver DUI attorneys will explore when he takes on your case.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to do for yourself after being charged with vehicular homicide is to speak with an attorney who can help you in getting the charges dropped, facilitating a plea deal with the prosecution, or fighting for you if your case goes before a jury trial. The Colorado criminal defense attorneys at WeedenLaw have a proven track record of obtaining the best possible outcome for their clients, whatever that may look like in each individual case.
Free Consultation with a Colorado Vehicular Homicide Defense Attorney
We’ve all been guilty of careless driving every now and then, whether it’s checking our phones, breaking the speed limit, or running a red light. Unfortunately, for some, this moment of recklessness can result in the loss of someone’s life and, therefore, the loss of another’s freedom. If this is the case for you or a loved one and you facing the severe penalties associated with a vehicular homicide charge in Colorado, we encourage you to call the law office of Jeff Weeden, top Denver, CO criminal defense attorney, today.
Our experienced criminal attorneys know how to best handle this legal issue and work to achieve the most favorable outcome in your case. In addition to serving Denver County, we also take cases in Douglas County, Broomfield County, Jefferson County, Adams County, Arapahoe County, and more. For a free initial consultation or to secure an attorney-client relationship and get straight to work on your defense, call WeedenLaw today at (720) 307-4330 or complete our online intake form here.