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Getting caught up in a car accident may lead to various insurance negotiations, repair bills, medical expenses, and civil litigation. However, if your traffic accident directly leads to someone else’s death, you may also face serious criminal charges that could be prosecuted as high-level felonies.
Vehicular homicide is a challenging criminal charge to contest, making assistance from a seasoned defense attorney even more essential when dealing with these allegations. By working with an experienced Tempe vehicular homicide lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group, you could give yourself far better chances of achieving a positive case result and protecting your way of life.
Most instances of vehicular homicide are prosecuted as some form of manslaughter under Arizona Revised Statutes §13-1103. This statute specifically addresses situations where someone causes another person’s death through reckless behavior or intentional actions based on “a sudden quarrel or heat of passion” with substantial provocation by the deceased person. However, the sanctions associated with this sort of charge can vary depending on whether the court overseeing the case classifies the defendant’s vehicle as a dangerous instrument.
If the car involved is not classified as such, the ensuing vehicular homicide charge may be categorized as a non-dangerous class 2 felony. Sentencing ranges for this charge include three to 12.5 years in prison or a lengthy term of probation upon conviction. However, if the vehicle is considered a dangerous instrument, an associated manslaughter charge may be considered a dangerous class 2 felony. This allows for a sentencing range of seven to 21 years of imprisonment for a first-time offender and even longer sentences for those with prior felony records.
This harsher approach to prosecuting vehicular homicide is more common in situations where the defendant was allegedly drunk or high while driving, engaged in reckless speeding or some other type of aggressive driving, or was racing at the time of the incident. A Tempe vehicular homicide attorney could help build a comprehensive defense strategy tailored to a defendant’s specific situation.
In many situations, the core of a successful defense strategy against vehicular homicide charges is establishing that the defendant was not at fault for causing the underlying accident. A local vehicular homicide attorney could also work to show that the defendant did not demonstrate substantial recklessness or carelessness beyond what a reasonable person would have displayed under the circumstances. In other words, a lawyer may argue that while the defendant may have been partly or primarily to blame for the accident, they were not egregiously negligent.
In some cases, it may be possible to establish that arresting law enforcement officers violated the law during the case or that police reports or other evidence, like witness testimonies are not credible upon further investigation. Each vehicular manslaughter case in Tempe is unique and requires a different approach, as our experienced attorneys can attest.
Accidentally causing a fatal car accident is a traumatic experience, even without the threat of criminal liability for the incident. If you have been charged with manslaughter over a traffic wreck, retaining legal counsel as soon as possible may be crucial to protecting your best interests.
A consultation with a Tempe vehicular homicide lawyer could provide much-needed answers and guidance in your case. Call Grand Canyon Law Group today for the dedicated representation you need.