Vehicular Manslaughter Lawyer in Utah
If you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter in Utah, you need a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience specifically handling manslaughter cases to advocate on your behalf. Settling for anything less than aggressive representation in the state of Utah could mean harsh sentencing involving several years behind bars. Here at Wasatch Defense Lawyers, we have a reputation for providing the highest level of qualified representation in vehicular manslaughter cases in Utah courts. We are ready and able to help you.
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What are Vehicular Manslaughter Charges?
Vehicular manslaughter involves the death of one or more people as the result of criminal negligence involving the use of a motor vehicle. Specifically, vehicular manslaughter is most often associated with drunk or reckless driving. When fatal accidents are suspected to be DUI-related, vehicular manslaughter is most often the primary charge filed.
When are Vehicular Manslaughter Charges Filed?
Prosecutors in the state of Utah take vehicular manslaughter seriously. Reckless or negligent driving–as well as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs–often results in serious prison time.
Per Utah Code § 76-5-204, vehicular manslaughter charges can be brought in one of two major scenarios:
- Someone guilty of murder receives an offense reduction
- Someone causes a person’s death through reckless behavior behind the wheel
How is Murder Different from Vehicular Manslaughter?
The key difference between murder and manslaughter is motive. Murder involves the intentional act to kill or seriously injure a person or people. Manslaughter involves an act of being reckless that results in death or serious injury. Examples of reckless driving that could end in vehicular manslaughter include but are not limited to; illegal driving, drunk driving, or excessive speeding that ends with one or more fatalities. Distracted driving from texting can be considered reckless in certain situations as well.
Vehicular Manslaughter Charges in Utah
The presumptive sentence for the second-degree felony of vehicular manslaughter in Utah is 15 years in prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines. Additionally, the driver’s license is revoked.
If someone has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, there are several categories that people should note. This is important because vehicular manslaughter charges and penalties can vary depending on the exact nature of the alleged crime.
Some of the types of vehicular manslaughter that people should know to include:
If someone has been accused of being grossly negligent at the time the alleged manslaughter was convicted, then there must be proof that the driver failed to exercise a reasonable degree of care. The prosecution will need to prove that the average person would otherwise exercise more care than was taken in this case.
Penalties: Fines and Prison Time
This charge is a third-degree felony. If someone has been convicted of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, the maximum penalty is up to $5,000 in fines and up to five years in prison. In addition, someone who is convicted of this crime may also lose their license for up to one year.
Criminal negligence is a totally separate category from gross negligence and has an even higher burden of proof. In criminal negligence, the defendant has not exercised reasonable care and judgment given the circumstances, particularly when compared to the average person. Furthermore, the prosecution will also have to prove that the defendant acted in a way that posed a significant risk to others in the area at the time of the accident. The degree of negligence will have to amount to an overwhelming deviation when compared to what someone else would have done. This is a far more severe charge.
Penalties: Fines and Prison Time
If someone is convicted of criminally negligent homicide or vehicular manslaughter, the penalties are far more severe than for gross negligence. This is considered a second-degree felony. If someone is convicted of this crime, he or she faces up to 15 years in prison. In addition, someone convicted of this crime can also be fined up to $10,000. Finally, this crime may also carry with it a license revocation of one year.
Under the Influence of Alcohol
In order to prove that someone was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, the prosecution will need to prove that someone had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher at the time of the accident. If someone is found to have been intoxicated at the time of the accident, he or she might be charged with intoxication manslaughter. DUI manslaughter can be seen as an aggravating circumstance in Utah and might lead to more substantial penalties.
Penalties: Fines and Prison Time
If someone is found to have been guilty of vehicular homicide and was under the influence at the time of the accident, AND the person has a prior conviction for driving under the influence, the crime is a second-degree felony regardless of the circumstances and is subject to the penalties accordingly. This might include up to $10,000 in fines and up to 15 years in prison. In addition, the individual may lose his or her license for up to one year.
Clearly, these penalties are severe and everyone should rely on an experienced attorney for help.
Contact Wasatch Defense Lawyers if You are Facing Vehicular Manslaughter charges in Utah
The most important step you can take to protect your future is to call the right criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Utah laws regarding vehicular manslaughter are particularly complex and involve severe sentencing, so it is vital that you secure the best representation who will use every resource available to fight for your freedom.
The defense team at Wasatch Defense Lawyers can increase your chance for a reduction or even dismissal in charges depending on the details of your case. We are ready and able to argue manslaughter charges down to negligent homicide or even seek acquittal where possible. We have successfully handled many manslaughter cases from a wide range of circumstances and evidence.
If you are currently facing a vehicular manslaughter charge, contact our offices today!
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