How Does Colorado Define Vehicular Homicide?
You can be charged with vehicular homicide in Colorado if you kill someone in a car accident due to drunk driving, reckless driving, or distracted driving. A Class 3 felony charge applies if you commit vehicular homicide due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving.
The penalties for driving under the influence or reckless driving can be severe. If you’re facing criminal charges for vehicular homicide, consult experienced lawyers from a reputable Colorado criminal defense law firm. They can investigate your case and help you create a solid defense strategy to protect your rights and freedom.
Vehicular Homicide is a Felony in Colorado
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could face charges for a Class 3 or 4 felony. It is a Class 3 felony if you were driving at excessive speed or under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the crash. It is a Class 4 felony if you were driving recklessly and your conduct was the proximate cause of someone’s death.
Felony convictions in Colorado have very stiff penalties, and you could lose some of your constitutional rights, such as possessing a firearm or voting. A skilled vehicular homicide attorney in Colorado Springs can fight to defend your rights.
Elements of the Crime of Vehicular Homicide
According to Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-1-106, you can be charged with vehicular homicide if the following conditions are met:
- In the State of Colorado
- On the date and at the place charged
- Operated a motor vehicle
- In a reckless manner or while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both
- Your conduct was the proximate cause
- Of someone’s death
Your Lack of Intent to Kill Doesn’t Matter
In most criminal cases, the prosecutor must prove that a defendant intended to carry out the crime for which they face charges. However, the case is different in vehicular homicide charges. A Class 3 felony vehicular homicide charge carries a strict liability principle, meaning the prosecutor doesn’t need to prove your intention to kill to obtain a conviction.
You could be charged with the crime even if the incident was an accident. That’s why vehicular homicide is a severe charge. You should have a knowledgeable vehicular homicide attorney in Colorado Springs to represent you. They can create a solid defense strategy to ensure you receive lesser penalties or have the charges dropped altogether.
What Are the Penalties for Vehicular Homicide?
The penalties for vehicular homicide depend on whether you acted recklessly or were driving under the influence. A conviction has the following sentences:
- 2 to 6 years in prison for reckless driving and 4 to 12 years for vehicular homicide by DUI
- A fine of between $2,000 and $500,000 for recklessness and $3,000 to $75,000 for vehicular homicide caused by DUI
The maximum sentence increases if the court finds there were extraordinary aggravating factors. Besides, a conviction has several consequences, such as additional license suspensions, loss of gun ownership, and inability to pursue further employment. Let a skilled vehicular homicide attorney in Colorado Springs help you fight the charges.
What Are the Possible Defenses Against Vehicular Homicide Charges?
Having a skilled vehicular homicide attorney by your side is the best way to create a solid defense strategy to beat the charges. The goal is to get you the best possible outcome, such as reducing or dismissing the charges. Here are some common defense strategies the lawyer could use, depending on the unique circumstances of your case.
You Were Not Impaired
If the charges entail drunk driving or the police suspected you of being under the influence, you must submit a blood or urine alcohol test. If you refuse to cooperate with the police for testing, the tests may still be performed at the direction of a law enforcement officer with probable cause for a warrant.
Your attorney can review the testing protocols to check if the police followed the proper procedures. They will look for questionable testing procedures and loopholes in the test results.
Challenging the Proximate Cause
The central premise of a vehicular homicide charge is whether your driving was the proximate cause of the victim’s death. Your attorneys from a criminal defense law firm in Colorado Springs can review the evidence to determine if your driving was the actual proximate cause of death.
You Were Not Reckless
Reckless driving means you were aware your conduct could endanger those around you. Skilled and aggressive defense attorneys can consider the evidence and challenge it to show that you were not being reckless when the accident happened.
Fight Against Vehicular Homicide Charges With Skilled Legal Counsel
Being charged with the offense of vehicular homicide is devastating. You must treat the allegations seriously and take the necessary steps to defend yourself. A conviction carries the potential for a lengthy prison sentence. Consult lawyers from a reputable criminal defense law firm in Colorado Springs and let them go to battle with you.
Our law firm has skilled vehicular homicide attorneys who can help you. Let us evaluate the specifics of your case and provide the legal counsel and representation you need during this challenging time. Call Joyner Law at (719) 548-4750 to schedule a FREE consultation for your legal defense.