Grand Canyon Law GroupN/a
You could face homicide charges if you were in a fatal accident and the prosecutor believes the death resulted from your reckless or intentional behavior. Homicide charges carry significant consequences, and your freedom is in jeopardy.
When you are charged with criminal liability in a deadly crash, contacting a Citrus Park vehicular homicide lawyer should be a top priority. A skilled attorney at Grand Canyon Law Group can mount a robust defense and secure the best possible outcome in your case. We believe you have a way of life worth saving.
Arizona does not have a statute defining the crime of vehicular homicide. If a vehicle accident is fatal, prosecutors could bring a charge for reckless or intentional actions that cause someone’s death.
There are several charges that a prosecutor might bring in this situation, depending on the facts of the case. These charges are all considered dangerous felonies, as the law considers a vehicle a “dangerous instrument.” Our seasoned Citrus Park attorneys can investigate an alleged vehicular homicide and mount a vigorous defense.
Negligence causes most car accidents, but not all fatal wrecks will result in a criminal charge. To secure a negligent homicide conviction, prosecutors must prove that a driver’s conduct deviated substantially from a reasonable person’s conduct in a similar situation.
When a driver’s alleged recklessness causes a fatal accident, a prosecutor might bring a manslaughter charge. Manslaughter is a more serious charge than negligent homicide because manslaughter indicates the driver knew how risky their conduct was but proceeded anyway. Prosecutors often bring manslaughter charges when a driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they got into a fatal crash.
A prosecutor might bring this charge if a driver allegedly intended to kill someone with their vehicle. They also might charge second-degree homicide by accusing a driver of showing extreme indifference to human life through their reckless actions. These are severe charges requiring representation from an experienced vehicular homicide lawyer to avoid harsh penalties.
Arizona Revised Statutes §13-704 establishes the penalties for a dangerous felony conviction. The sentences vary depending on multiple factors, including the defendant’s criminal history and specific victim characteristics: when the victim is a child or police officer, the sentence is longer. Each crime has a presumed sentence within a range.
For example, negligent homicide with a vehicle is a Class 4 dangerous felony. The presumptive sentence for a first offender is six years imprisonment, but the judge can impose a sentence as short as four years or as long as eight years. If the offender has prior convictions for dangerous felonies, the sentence could be as long as 15 years.
A vehicular homicide attorney at our firm can present evidence to sway a judge to impose as lenient a sentence as possible. Factors that might favor a lenient sentence include the offender’s age, contributions to the community, remorse for the event, and willingness to take responsibility and make amends to the deceased person’s family.
Criminal charges related to fatal vehicle accidents depend on many factors that our Citrus Park attorneys can challenge. Each case is unique, and Grand Canyon Law Group will tailor a defense to the specific situation. However, some defense strategies apply in many cases.
When a prosecutor brings a homicide charge related to a vehicle accident, they presume that the accused caused or contributed to the crash. An accident reconstruction expert could determine that the accused has less fault for the crash than the charges indicate. If the accident could not have been prevented regardless of the accused’s conduct, or if another party had primary responsibility for a crash, a prosecutor might agree to a significantly reduced charge or drop charges.
If the prosecution alleges the accused was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, questioning the validity of the sobriety testing could yield positive results for a defendant. If the prosecutor’s evidence of reckless or intentional conduct rests on the accused’s impairment, challenging the evidence of impairment could lead them to reduce or dismiss charges.
If you face criminal charges after a fatal car wreck, you need representation from a seasoned defense attorney. Conviction on a dangerous felony charge could lead to years in prison and change the course of your life.
Contact a Citrus Park vehicular homicide lawyer immediately. At Grand Canyon Law Group, we will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and secure a positive outcome for your case. Call today to get started.