AGGRESSIVE DEFENSE FOR HOMICIDE BY VEHICLE CHARGES
Your Life Is On The Line
If you are facing charges of Felony Homicide by Vehicle after causing someone’s death in an accident, you might be traumatized about what happened and scared for what the future might hold. If the offense involved alcohol, you might feel extreme remorse, but the offense will likely have a permanent impact on your emotions and life.
What is Homicide by Vehicle in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, you can be charged with vehicular homicide in two different ways. If your offense involved alcohol or drugs while you were driving, you can be charged with Homicide by Vehicle while DUI.
You can also be charged with Homicide by Vehicle when you were not impaired if you unintentionally caused a fatal accident while driving recklessly or engaging in gross negligence. Some examples of conduct that could result in a vehicular homicide charge when you were not impaired include such things as texting while driving, racing, road rage, or driving after being awake for 24 or more hours.
HOMICIDE BY VEHICLE WHILE DUI
Anyone alleged to have caused the death of another person while DUI can be charged with Homicide by Vehicle while DUI – a second-degree felony. Under 75 Pa.C.S.3735, you can be charged with Homicide by Vehicle while DUI when you unintentionally cause a fatal accident because you are impaired by alcohol or drugs. Homicide by vehicle while DUI carries a considerable prison sentence of at least 3 years in prison and other punishment, so you need an experienced defense attorney on your side. We will strive to protect you from the harsh consequences of a Homicide by Vehicle charge and make every effort to create reasonable doubt in your alleged guilt.
The prosecutor will have the burden of proof to prove the following elements before you can be found guilty:
- Someone was killed.
- The person was killed because you operated your car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (Proof of causation is required).
- You were impaired by alcohol or drugs when the accident happened.
The prosecutor does not have to prove that your BAC was above a certain level to show that you were impaired. Prosecutors can rely on other types of evidence to show that you were intoxicated or impaired, including traffic cameras and witness testimony.
Since prosecutors can rely on many different types of evidence to prove that you were impaired by drugs or alcohol, getting help from our experienced attorneys is critical if you are facing this type of charge. If more than one person died, the District Attorney can bring a separate count of Homicide by Vehicle while DUI for each death and can seek consecutive sentences for anyone hurt or killed and the Judges often comply.
What are the Penalties for Homicide by Vehicle DUI?
If you are convicted of Homicide by Vehicle while DUI in Pennsylvania, you will face serious penalties. For a first offense, the following penalties might apply:
- Second-degree felony on your record
- First-degree felony if you have a prior DUI offense on your record
- For a second-degree felony, a minimum of three years in prison and three years consecutive for each victim
- For a first-degree felony, a minimum of five years in prison if you have one prior DUI offense or seven years in prison if you have two prior DUIs
- Fines of up to $25,000
Other factors that can influence the amount of prison time you might face include whether your accident occurred in a construction zone, whether your accident involved an emergency vehicle, the number of victims who were killed, and whether you were on probation or parole at the time of your offense. All of these factors can result in a longer prison sentence.
Mounting a strong defense to a Homicide by Vehicle while DUI charge in a Pennsylvania is complex, specialized and technical. Our attorneys have tried various Homicide by Vehicle cases to successful verdict. Attorney Stacy Parks Miller secured a complete jury acquittal on a Homicide by Vehicle case through the use of an expert witness who successfully challenged the Commonwealth’s narrative as to how the accident occurred. When the Commonwealth’s reconstructionist is not a trained engineer, their conclusions can be potentially successfully challenged. Our attorneys may employ several experts in your defense, such as an accident reconstructionist, an independent chemical test expert and perhaps even a substance-abuse expert.
Defending Against Homicide by Vehicle Charges
When you retain us to defend against Homicide by Vehicle charges, we will carefully analyze all of the evidence to identify any potential defenses that might be raised. In general, fewer defenses are available for these crimes than for other types of homicide offenses since the requisite mental state is recklessness.
We may be able to defend you by showing that the accident and the person’s death were not caused by your actions. We may work with an accident reconstruction expert to demonstrate what happened in the moments leading up to your accident to show that your conduct was not the direct or proximate cause of the victim’s death. We might work with a forensic expert to show that your blood test results were inaccurate and unreliable. We would use such evidence to obtain a dismissal at trial or to convince the prosecutor to reduce your charges.
We will investigate your case thoroughly to identify these crucial weaknesses issues in the prosecutor’s case against you. You need a team of knowledgeable top attorneys fighting for your rights and freedom. We provide a strong defense in all types of Homicide by Vehicle cases.
Fierce Advocates At Every Stage Of Defense
We are advocates for our clients at every stage of a criminal defense matter, including preliminary hearings, detention hearings, suppression of evidence hearings, plea negotiations, jury trials, bench trials and appeals.
We are known for our straightforward, aggressive approach to defending clients against serious crimes charges and for our ability to effectively challenge the prosecution at every stage of a case. We draw on our expert resources and our legal knowledge to investigate and build the strongest strategic case that we can on your behalf. Our team of experienced attorneys knows the best defenses for each unique case, and we know how to challenge each part of the Commonwealth’s case at the preliminary hearing; through pre-trial motions, and at trial with a judge or a jury. We also have extensive experience in skillfully negotiating for better outcomes for our clients, and we have obtained the best results even in cases in which the Commonwealth has a great deal of evidence. If you or a loved one are under investigation or facing Homicide by Vehicle charges, you need the best defense attorneys in your corner. Call 814-762-0004 for a free strategy session with one of our lawyers today.
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We will serve as your shield against the long arm of the criminal justice system. We will ensure that your rights are protected, evidence is tested and you do not incriminate yourself in any way.
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