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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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New York Penal Law §125.13 Vehicular Manslaughter First Degree

By Spodek Law Group | July 17, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 11, 2023)

Last Updated on: 11th October 2023, 12:54 am

New York Penal Law §125.13 Vehicular Manslaughter First Degree – A Conversational Overview

New York Penal Law §125.13 covers the crime of vehicular manslaughter in the first degree. This charge applies when someone causes another person’s death due to reckless driving, often while intoxicated. It’s an incredibly serious offense with severe penalties, but also a complex legal issue with potential defenses.Let’s break it down in simple terms, so anyone can understand the key aspects of this law. We’ll look at what exactly constitutes the crime, potential sentences, related charges, and possible ways a skilled defense attorney could approach these difficult cases.

The Basics

Vehicular manslaughter in the first degree is a Class C felony under New York law. This means it’s among the most serious criminal offenses, with potential prison sentences of up to 15 years.For a driver to be charged with vehicular manslaughter in the first degree, their actions must result in another person’s death. Situations where this charge commonly applies include:

  • The driver was intoxicated with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.18% or higher. This is over twice the legal limit of 0.08%.
  • The driver had a suspended license due to a prior DWI conviction, either in New York or another state.
  • The driver had a prior vehicular manslaughter conviction within the past 10 years.
  • The driver’s actions resulted in multiple deaths.
  • There was a child under age 15 in the vehicle who was killed.

Basically, the more reckless and dangerous the driving, and the more tragic the consequences, the more likely the first-degree charge applies.

Sentencing and Penalties

As mentioned above, vehicular manslaughter in the first degree is a Class C felony. This means up to 15 years in state prison. Fines up to $15,000 may also apply.Additional penalties include:

  • Mandatory driver’s license revocation by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Potential civil lawsuits by victims’ families that can result in massive financial judgments.
  • Lifelong impact on employment opportunities and finances due to having a felony conviction.

There are other potential charges under New York law that may apply in cases of fatal accidents:

  • Vehicular manslaughter in the second degree (Class D felony) – Up to 7 years prison.
  • Aggravated vehicular homicide (Class B felony) – Up to 25 years prison.
  • Reckless driving (misdemeanor) – Up to 30 days jail.

Prosecutors often pursue the most serious charges applicable based on the circumstances.

Possible Defenses

There are defenses an experienced criminal defense lawyer may use to contest vehicular manslaughter charges, such as:

  • Challenging the chemical BAC test’s validity – These tests must adhere to strict procedures.
  • Disputing that the defendant’s driving caused the accident – Other factors may have contributed.
  • Arguing the defendant was not reckless – Certain conditions like weather may absolve liability.
  • Providing mitigating circumstances – Mental health issues, addiction, or trauma may warrant compassion.

While defending vehicular manslaughter cases is extremely difficult, the right legal strategy can potentially lead to reduced charges or alternate sentencing involving rehabilitation programs rather than prison time. But securing the best outcome requires an assertive advocate.

The Takeaway

Vehicular manslaughter in the first degree is among the most severe criminal charges under New York law, with up to 15 years in state prison. While the penalties are harsh, experienced DWI defense lawyers understand the complexities involved and can aggressively defend clients while seeking fair outcomes. For anyone facing such charges, obtaining experienced legal counsel immediately is critical.

Sources:New York Penal Law §125.13: Vehicular Manslaughter First DegreeVehicular Manslaughter First Degree – NYSenate.govNew York Penal Law Article 125 | Homicide Manslaughter AbortionVehicular Manslaughter First Degree in New YorkVehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree Penal Law § 125.13(1)

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