Vehicular manslaughter (also referred to as vehicular homicide) is the legal term for the crime of causing the death of a human being due to driving a vehicle or vessel recklessly. Recklessly can include falling asleep while driving or driving without sleep for a period in excess of 24 hours or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You can be charged with vehicular manslaughter for killing a pedestrian, another motorist, or a passenger – even a loved one, in your own car.
In cases of vehicular manslaughter the prosecution must prove that you were driving recklessly. Examples of reckless driving include speeding or weaving in and out of traffic lanes or failing to obey traffic lights and signs. Reckless driving may also include operating a vehicle after failing to sleep for a significant period of time (that caused you to fall asleep or nod out at the wheel.)
The particular circumstances of the accident will determine if you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime, but generally, if you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will most likely be charged with felony vehicular manslaughter.
Wrongful Death Civil Lawsuit
In addition to fines and jail time you may also be subject to a wrongful death civil lawsuit. Even if you are not convicted of a crime, New Jersey law allows the victims’ family to sue in civil court to recover the cost of medical expenses, loss of consortium (companionship), lost wages, and damages for pain and suffering.
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For a combined 35 years, the criminal defense attorneys of Clark & Clark were both prosecutors. Their knowledge of the system and experience means that they can give you an immediate and accurate answer regarding the penalties you are facing, your best legal defense to the charge, how to respond to the police or the prosecutor’s office and, most importantly, exactly what you need to do next.
You owe it to yourself to call our firm today for a free consultation, toll free, at 732-303-7857 . All of our clients can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via our office or cell phones. You will be in direct contact with your attorney who will remain available to answer any questions that you may have and provide any necessary counsel until your case is successfully resolved. The criminal defense attorneys at Clark & Clark, LLC have spent their entire careers in the court room and will give you the peace of mind and confidence that you need while we successfully defend your case.