Mercer County NJ Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide Lawyer
In July of 2017 the legislation created NJSA 2C:11-5.3, Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide Caused by Driving While Intoxicated or Driving Under the Influence in an effort to deter would be drunk drivers. Unlike vehicular homicide or death by auto, this offense removes the necessity of proving recklessness on behalf of the Defendant. This crime seeks to prosecute those who are alleged to have been driving under the influence when they were involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in the death of another. As you will see below, the potential ramifications if convicted are life changing.
If you or a loved one has been charged strict liability vehicular homicide, death by auto, assault by auto, eluding, endangering the welfare of a child for DWI, driving while intoxicated or any other offense for that matter in Mercer County, it is strongly recommend that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. These are very serious offense, one that if not handled properly could land an individual behind bars for an extended period of time. If you would like to speak with one of the criminal defense attorneys at Keith Oliver Criminal Law, then please contact our Hamilton office at 609-789-0779. Our office offers free initial in-depth consultations, whereby one of our attorneys would provide our honest feedback on how we can be of assistance. We serve all of Mercer County, including Hamilton, West Windsor, Trenton, Hopewell, Princeton, Robbinsville, East Windsor, Ewing and Lawrenceville. Now here is some more information on strict liability vehicular homicide, including the penalties if convicted.
Vehicular Homicide vs. Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide Charge
In an effort to try and hold those accused of being involved in a fatal accident whereby drugs and/or alcohol is involved, the legislation created strict liability vehicular homicide. As touched upon above, unlike vehicular homicide, this offense eliminates the prosecutions burden of establishing that the Defendant was operating in a reckless manner. Although intoxication can be circumstantial evidence of recklessness, under the vehicular homicide statute, recklessness is still a question for the jury to decide. Under this offense, the prosecution is only required to prove that the Defendant was operating their vehicle under the influence.
What Must the Prosecution Prove in a Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide Charge?
Here is a breakdown of the elements that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The Defendant was operating a motor vehicle;
- The Defendant was operating the motor vehicle in violation of NJSA 39:4-50 (DWI/DUI);
- The Defendant was involved in a motor vehicle accident;
- Another died as a result of the motor vehicle accident.
- In other words, but for the Defendant’s accident, the deceased would still be alive.
Is Jail time for Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide?
Unlike vehicular homicide, strict liability vehicular homicide caused by driving under the influence is a third degree felony offense, not a second degree. If convicted, a Defendant would be facing up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. However, this offense eliminates NJSA 2C:44-1, which allows for a presumption of non-incarceration for those convicted of a third or fourth degree felony offense. In addition, unlike vehicular homicide, this offense is not subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA).
It is important to note that a Defendant could be also be charged with vehicular homicide as well as aggravated manslaughter if the facts so allow for.
Facing a Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide Charge in Trenton NJ
Keith Oliver Criminal Law defends those accused of serious criminal offenses like strict liability vehicular homicide, aggravated assault, leaving the scene of an accident, death by auto and assault by auto in courts throughout New Jersey, including courts throughout Mercer County. If you have been accused of a crime in Mercer County, in towns like West Windsor, Trenton, Lawrence, Hightstown, Ewing, Robbinsville, East Windsor, Princeton or elsewhere, Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. To schedule a free initial consultation today, please contact us directly at 609-789-0779 or you can try contacting us online.