Arizona Vehicular Homicide Lawyer
Vehicular homicide is a criminal charge that may arise when a driver recklessly or intentionally kills someone using his or her vehicle. Arizona is unique in that it does not have a statute specifically regarding vehicular homicide. Instead, it lumps this type of criminal activity with its general homicide laws. A fatal car accident may result in vehicular homicide, manslaughter, or murder charges if the at-fault driver was criminally negligent, reckless, or “extremely indifferent to human life,” causing the crash. Protect yourself by retaining a powerful Arizona vehicular homicide attorney from Corso Law Group, as soon as the prosecution brings a vehicular homicide charge against you.
Penalties for Vehicular Homicide in Arizona
Arizona law treats all types of homicide as felony charges, with the possibility for drastic fines and lengthy prison sentences. Your defense attorney’s goal will either be dismissal of the charges, or reduction of charges. Reducing the charge in a vehicular homicide case will make a major difference in the sentence the defendant faces. The type of crime is an important distinction to strive for in homicide trials. The following are the potential penalties for vehicular homicide, in order of severity from least to greatest:
- Negligent homicide. A person may be guilty of negligent homicide if they were driving in a criminally negligent manner, such as unknowingly failing to turn the headlights on while driving at night. The driver must be guilty of negligence to such a degree that the failure to perceive the risk grossly deviates from the accepted standards of care. This is a class 4 felony in Arizona, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $150,000 in fines, depending on the severity of the facts, and/or prior criminal history.
- Manslaughter. This conviction may arise after a motorist recklessly kills another person while driving. “Recklessness” is any action that poses a substantial risk to others, that the driver knowingly commits. The driver must have been aware of the recklessness of the action. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a common example of something that could lead to a manslaughter charge. This is a class 2 felony, with penalties of 3 to 35 years in prison and $150,000 in fines, depending on the severity of the facts, and/or prior criminal history.
- Second-degree murder. This is the most severe possible conviction in a vehicular homicide case. It could stem from the driver’s intent to kill the victim, or from conduct that creates a “grave risk of death.” The courts/juries will have to rule that the driver created a situation that pointed to an extreme indifference to the life of the victim. This is a class 1 felony, punishable up to 25 years incarceration in state prison, or more, depending on the individual’s criminal history, and up to $150,000 in fines. If the victim was under 12 years old, the defendant faces potential life in prison.
Vehicular homicide is one of the most serious crimes a person can commit. No matter what factors contributed to the accident, someone died as a result. The friends and family members of the victim likely want to see someone pay for the loss. Arizona law enforcement may feel pressured to prosecute the suspect and bring the most severe penalties possible – even if the defendant’s actions do not warrant such punishments. As the defendant, you need experienced, aggressive, and knowledgeable vehicular homicide lawyers in Arizona who only have your best interest in mind. Contact our legal team at Corso Law Group for any criminal charge, especially an accusation as serious as vehicular homicide.