Newark Vehicular Homicide Defense Lawyers
When a motor vehicle accident results in a death, the State can issue a complaint charging you with Vehicular Homicide. This particular charge can result in a State Prison sentence; civil exposure for several related types of lawsuits; and, the suspension of your driver's license privileges by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. You should expect that motor vehicle summonses will be issued within 30 days of the accident for any related motor vehicle violations; while a determination of whether to issue a complaint charging Vehicular Homicide can take several months to occur.
When this type of accident happens, the local police will investigate the accident, and refer the entire proceedings to the County Prosecutor for a determination of whether a charge of Vehicular Homicide should be issued. If this charge is issued, any motor vehicle summonses issued as part of the investigation will be referred to the Prosecutor, instead of being resolved in the Municipal Court.
The typical police investigation of a fatal accident includes a variety of investigative actions, including:
- Scene photographs
- Measured diagrams of the scene
- Videotapes of the persons involved in the accident
- Impounding of the vehicles
- Witness statements
When reviewing the case against a client, a criminal defense lawyer will review these reports, photographs and diagrams, to determine whether an accident reconstruction specialist can assist in developing a defense of the vehicular homicide charge. Among the issues the lawyer will review are the time periods from accident to investigation, the arrival time of each responding officer or emergency agency; the possibility of scene contamination (for example, the sweeping-up of glass); whether the scene was altered by other emergency personnel (fire or ambulance personnel) rendering aid to the victims; and, the time during which scene photographs and measurements were taken, to determine whether the photographs occurred prior to scene contamination or after it had been altered by arriving personnel.
The first instinct of a person involved in an accident, is to be open and helpful to the officers and emergency room personnel about what happened, what was observed and most critically, what role the accident participants had in the accident. The problem this raises for a criminal defense lawyer is that this type of situation leaves the person who caused the accident in the position of giving up the right to remain silent. Unfortunately, since the scene is still under investigation and the client is not in custody, the Miranda 'rights' do not typically apply.
If you have been involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident, it is important to get legal advice by an experienced criminal defense lawyer like those at Bailey & Orozco as soon as possible. Among the issues to discuss with the defense lawyer is the possibility of whether you may be charged with Vehicular Homicide; and, whether you will be required to post bail if you are charged with Vehicular Homicide. Please contact us if we may be of assistance in helping you reach a decision regarding the defense of these types of charges.