Vehicular Homicide Overview & Vehicular Manslaughter Legal Defense

Cases involving vehicular homicide are often very shocking and receive extensive media spotlight. An average day or a fun night out can end with very serious charges, including imprisonment, fines, and license revocation.  One bad decision can spur a lifetime of devastating consequences.

Examples of vehicular homicide charges in Minnesota

  • A Minnesota semi-truck driver was charged with vehicular manslaughter when a 59-pound cement retaining wall block fell off of his semi-trailer and went through the passenger-side windshield of a minivan, striking and killing a 17-year old boy.
  • A man was charged and convicted of vehicular homicide after his Toyota Camry suddenly accelerated and slammed into another car, killing three members of one family.  After serving two and a half years of his sentence, he was released when it was alleged that the accident happened as a result of a flaw in the cruise control, which caused unintended acceleration.
  • A 23-year old U of M student was charged with vehicular homicide after striking two pedestrians who were walking on the street near a construction site where the sidewalk was blocked off.  The accident resulted in the death of one of the victims.  The student behind the wheel had a blood alcohol level of .164, twice the legal limit.
  • A 20-year old Minnesota woman was charged with vehicular homicide when she ran a red light at a Minneapolis intersection.  Her car plowed into another car at 60 mph killing the 39-year old driver of the other car.
  • A 24-year old woman was charged and convicted of 4 counts of vehicular homicide after running a stop sign and striking a school bus which overturned killing 4 students.  She was found driving without a license and is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence.
What is vehicular homicide?

The roads can be risky, with accidents happening every day. If an accident leads to someone's death, the driver might face serious felony charges for causing it. Vehicular homicide charges can be brought when someone unintentionally kills another person while driving. This often happens in cases of drunk driving, reckless behavior, speeding, texting while driving, or other extremely careless driving actions. In Minnesota, leaving the scene of a deadly accident can also result in a vehicular homicide charge.

Facing vehicular homicide charges can lead to serious outcomes, such as hefty fines, jail time, losing your driver's license, and having to pay more for insurance. The sentencing guidelines under Minnesota law suggest a five- to seven-year prison term if found guilty of vehicular homicide.  Minnesota law also recognizes the death of an unborn child and imposes a 48-month minimum sentence for causing the death of an unborn child.  Under state law, the maximum sentence for causing the death of a human being or the death of an unborn child is 10-years imprisonment or payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both.

What legal defenses are there for vehicular homicide?

Given the serious consequences of a vehicular homicide conviction, it's crucial for someone accused to get proper legal help to build a strong defense. There are different ways to defend against these charges, like showing there wasn't negligence, proving there's no direct link between the driver's actions and the accident, mentioning involuntary intoxication, insufficient evidence, or presenting a case of mistaken identity. Demonstrating that something else, like a road pothole or faulty car parts, caused the accident can break the connection and potentially lead to the accused person being found not guilty. It's also possible to argue that the accident would have happened even without the defendant's actions.

Experienced and competent legal representation is extremely important.

If you've been charged with vehicular homicide, Bruno Law has effectively and aggressively represented the rights of individuals convicted of serious crimes, including this one. Protect your rights and your future.