For individuals charged with vehicular manslaughter, a litany of mitigating factors is likely to play into the potential legal fallout from the vehicular homicide charges. In most cases, car accidents can result in minor or severe injuries or even death of a driver or passenger. The loss of life in such cases is tragic particularly because it’s completely unintentional.
In most cases, vehicle accidents may not warrant criminal charges against the driver. However, in Nevada State, if you were driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance or your blood alcohol content was higher than the legal limit, and you cause an accident that results in a death of the other driver or passenger, you might be charged with vehicular homicide. In this case, it’s important to retain the legal counsel of a Las Vegas DUI attorney with experience in handling vehicular manslaughter cases.
The attorney can wade through the finer details pertaining to your DUI and manslaughter cases, assemble the right pieces of evidence, and prepare a strong defense. He or she can also represent you before and during your criminal trial session.
According to the NRS 484.130, you (the driver) must fall into one of the following categories to be charged with vehicular manslaughter;
- You are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident that resulted in a death.
- You already have three prior DUI conviction, either misdemeanors or felony convictions
- You ‘proximately caused the death of an individual while driving or when you were in actual physical control of a car.’
In Nevada, vehicular manslaughter laws are often targeted to habitual drunk drivers who have previous DUI convictions. But there is a separate offense for a vehicular homicide that has nothing to do with the prior DUI convictions, and you can even be charged with that even when no drugs or alcohol is involved. If the prosecutor believes that you were grossly negligent, for instance, you were driving recklessly without any regard for life, you can be charged with vehicular homicide.
According to NRS 484B.657, an individual who, while in physical control of a vehicle or driving, proximately causes the death of another individual through omission or act that constitutes negligence can be charged with vehicular manslaughter. That means you can be charged with vehicular manslaughter if you were not attentive while driving and your negligent or impaired driving caused an accident that resulted in the death of someone. Driving under the influence, talking on your cell phone while driving, or even running through a red light are all negligent acts.
Keep in mind that a driver cannot be convicted of vehicular homicide or manslaughter unless there is sufficient proof that the victim’s death was, beyond any doubt, a probable or natural result of the defendant’s negligence. Therefore, the prosecution should go beyond showing that the defendant was negligent and someone actually died. There must be a relationship between the death and the defendant’s negligence.