Who Determines Vehicular Homicide in New Jersey?
Wall New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys serving Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County and all surrounding NJ areas.
Posted: December 22, 2016
Vehicular homicide occurs when an individual operates a vehicle in a reckless manner and causes the death of another person. Under the law, recklessness is a factual determination, which is made by a jury. Recklessness is defined as the substantial disregard of a known and unjustifiable risk. Recklessness can be inferred based upon the driver’s conduct in a vehicular homicide prosecution. For example, if an individual is driving drunk, a jury will be allowed to infer that the individual was driving their vehicle in a reckless manner.
However, a jury is never required to find that an individual who is driving their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol was acting recklessly—recklessness is always determined by the jury. Some other motor vehicle offenses that a jury may consider in determining if an individual was driving recklessly for purposes of a vehicular homicide include speeding and/or the traffic offense of reckless driving.
In a vehicular homicide prosecution, if a jury finds that an individual was operating their vehicle in a reckless manner, the jury will then have to determine if that reckless operation caused the death of another individual. In a vehicular homicide prosecution, a jury is always able to consider any and all relevant factors in determining if an individual drove their vehicle recklessly and caused the death of another person.
Defenses For Vehicular Homicide
A common defense to a vehicular homicide prosecution is challenging the evidence that is put forth by the state in order to show that the individual was acting recklessly. In some circumstances, an individual who is accused of vehicular homicide may hire their own experts to review the facts and circumstances of the motor vehicle accident and offer testimony at trial. Obviously, the specific facts and circumstances will dictate how the particular vehicular homicide prosecution is defended.
If you or someone you know has been charged with vehicular homicide, contact the law firm of Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC at any time. Our attorneys have handled vehicular homicide prosecutions throughout the state of New Jersey. In fact, our attorneys recently obtained a not-guilty verdict in a vehicular homicide trial that was the subject of extensive media coverage.
Our law firm offers a free, no-obligation consultation to anyone who has been accused of a criminal offense in the state of New Jersey. Call us today at 732-303-7857. We can help.
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