Vehicular Homicide and Drunk Driving in New Jersey

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Just last week, a former New Jersey police officer was convicted of drunk driving and causing a wrong-way accident that ended up killing a fellow officer as well as another friend. The cop is now facing up to 25 years in prison, the maximum for his crimes.

Prosecutors say that at the time of the crash, the former Linden police officer’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.24, three times higher than the legal limit in New York, which is 0.08 percent. The defendant was driving the wrong way on the highway when he crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer. The crash occurred in March 2015 as the defendant and three of his friends were heading home to New Jersey after a night of drinking in New York.

In New Jersey, as in New York, the basic offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI) consists of operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more. If you drive while you are drunk and kill someone in an accident, you will likely be charged with either vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter under Section 2C:11-5 of New Jersey’s criminal code.

Vehicular homicide refers to when the death of a person other than the driver takes place as a result of the reckless operation of a motor vehicle. “Reckless” means that an individual was driving with a conscious disregard for human life and in a manner that posed a substantial risk to the public.

When a person drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there is an assumption that he or she decided to operate a motor vehicle with an impairment, which points to recklessness. The basic idea is that the defendant got behind the wheel while understanding that a serious injury or death could occur, but they drove anyway. One possible defense to this is if you were so intoxicated that you were not capable of making the decision.

In New Jersey, defendants who commit vehicular homicide while intoxicated or on a license that was suspended for a DWI are guilty of a second-degree crime and subject to the standard penalties. However, these offenders face a minimum prison sentence of at least three years in DWI vehicular homicide cases.

Being charged with a DWI can have life-changing consequences for a defendant. In addition to jail time and fines, they may face the possibility of losing their license, which may affect their ability to go to school or work. Also, a criminal record of any nature may undermine a defendant’s ability to get a job or an educational degree in the future, harming many different aspects of their life. If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, you need to reach out to a skilled New Jersey DWI attorney as soon as possible. Our firm can thoroughly examine the circumstances of your accident and determine an appropriate defense in your case. With years of experience, we understand how to navigate these types of cases. To speak to us in more detail, call us at 877-450-8301 or contact us online.

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