New York Vehicular Crimes
Vehicular crimes in New York refer to offenses committed through the use of a motor vehicle that result in serious physical injury, death, or damage to property. These crimes are prosecuted aggressively and can lead to substantial penalties if convicted. Some key vehicular crimes in New York include:
Vehicular Manslaughter and Homicide
Vehicular manslaughter and homicide charges involve causing the death of a person through use of a motor vehicle. There are several degrees of these crimes:
- Aggravated Vehicular Manslaughter: Occurs when the driver is intoxicated and commits vehicular manslaughter in the second degree. This is a Class B felony.
- Vehicular Manslaughter 1st Degree: Occurs when the driver commits vehicular manslaughter in the 2nd degree plus an aggravating factor like prior DWI conviction. Class C felony.
- Vehicular Manslaughter 2nd Degree: Causing death through use of a vehicle while impaired by drugs/alcohol. Class D felony.
If a driver causes death while impaired, there is a rebuttable presumption that the impairment caused the death. Harsher penalties apply if a child under 15 dies.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
It is illegal in New York to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more. Different charges apply depending on the driver’s BAC:
- DWI (VTL 1192.2): BAC of 0.08% – 0.17%. Misdemeanor.
- Aggravated DWI (VTL 1192.2-a): BAC of 0.18% or more. Felony.
- Driving While Ability Impaired (VTL 1192.3): Actual impairment from alcohol/drugs. Misdemeanor.
Refusing a chemical test can result in revocation of license for at least 1 year. Harsher penalties apply if child under 16 is passenger.
Assault and Homicide by Vehicle
Vehicular assault involves causing serious physical injury through use of a vehicle while impaired. Vehicular homicide is causing death. There are degrees similar to manslaughter charges.
Reckless driving (VTL 1212) involves operating a vehicle in a way that unreasonably endangers others. Charged as misdemeanor but can lead to license revocation.
Leaving the Scene
It is a crime under VTL 600 to leave the scene of an incident without reporting it. Harsher penalties if serious physical injury or death involved.
Stealing a vehicle or possessing/operating a stolen vehicle is a larceny offense. Charges depend on value of vehicle.
Some potential defenses to vehicular crimes:
- Invalid traffic stop
- Lack of probable cause for arrest
- Failure to properly administer chemical test
- Medical condition caused impairment, not alcohol/drugs
- Mechanical failure caused accident, not driver impairment
An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the evidence and build the strongest defense to fight the charges.
Penalties for vehicular crimes depend on the specific charges but can include:
- Jail time – misdemeanors up to 1 year, felonies more than 1 year
- Fines – up to $5,000 for misdemeanor, more for felony
- License suspension or revocation
- Ignition interlock device required
- 5-year probation
- Restitution to victims
Collateral consequences like loss of employment or housing are also possible. Immigration status could be impacted for non-citizens.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I be charged with multiple vehicular crimes from one incident?
Yes, it is possible to face multiple charges from a single incident if injuries and/or deaths occurred. For example, you could be charged with vehicular manslaughter, assault, DWI and reckless driving.
What should I do if charged with a vehicular crime?
Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Do not speak to law enforcement without an attorney. The attorney can advise on possible defenses and negotiation strategy.
What if I left the scene of an accident?
Leaving the scene of an incident that causes serious physical injury or death is a separate crime under VTL 600. An attorney can still defend against charges and argue mitigating circumstances.
Can I appeal if convicted of a vehicular crime?
Yes, with an attorney you can file an appeal seeking to overturn the conviction or reduce the sentence. Strong grounds for appeal must exist, such as lack of evidence, procedural errors or ineffective counsel.
Will my license be suspended if charged with a vehicular crime?
Most likely yes, the DMV can suspend your license immediately if charged with an alcohol or drug-related driving offense. Your attorney can advise on the process and eligibility for a hardship license.
Can I negotiate a plea deal to reduce charges?
In many cases yes, an experienced attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to get charges reduced or even dismissed. This depends on the circumstances of the incident and strength of evidence.
Vehicular crimes should always be taken very seriously. Consulting with an attorney promptly is critical, as skilled legal advocacy can make the difference between prison time and preserving your freedom.