New York Penal Law 125.14: Aggravated Vehicular Homicide
Aggravated vehicular homicide is a very serious crime in New York that involves causing someone’s death through reckless driving while intoxicated. This article will explain what the law says, potential penalties, and defenses.
What the Law Says
New York Penal Law 125.14 defines aggravated vehicular homicide. A person commits this crime if they:
- Engage in reckless driving as defined by Vehicle and Traffic Law 1212
- Commit vehicular manslaughter in the second degree under Penal Law 125.12
- Do so under one of the following circumstances:
- Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .18 or higher
- Having a previous DWI conviction within the past 10 years
- Having a driver’s license suspended for a prior DWI conviction
- Causing the death of more than one person
- Having a previous conviction for vehicular manslaughter or vehicular assault
Reckless driving means driving in a way that interferes with others on the road or puts them in danger. Vehicular manslaughter in the second degree is causing someone’s death due to intoxicated driving.
So aggravated vehicular homicide is when someone drives extremely recklessly while very drunk, and it results in loss of life.
Aggravated vehicular homicide is a class B felony, the second most serious felony category in New York. The potential penalties include:
- Up to 25 years in prison
- Fines up to $5,000 or double the amount gained from the crime
- Driver’s license revocation
- 5 years of probation after release
The judge determines the exact sentence based on factors like criminal history and circumstances of the case. But anyone convicted of this crime faces very substantial prison time.
There are several potential defenses if accused of aggravated vehicular homicide:
- Not reckless driving – Reckless driving must be proven. Evidence of intoxication alone does not establish recklessness. The driving behavior itself must be reckless.
- BAC not .18 – If the BAC allegation is involved, the accuracy of the blood test can be challenged. Proper procedures must be followed.
- No proximate cause – The prosecution must establish intoxicated driving as the proximate cause of death. Other factors could have intervened.
- No intent – Vehicular manslaughter requires criminal negligence, not intent. If there was no intent to drive dangerously, it may not qualify.
A skilled criminal defense attorney can evaluate the evidence and determine if any defenses apply. Aggressive legal advocacy is essential when facing a charge this serious.
Here is a real case example of aggravated vehicular homicide in New York:
In 2010, the defendant drank heavily at a bar before attempting to drive home. Witnesses saw the defendant speeding, running red lights, and swerving erratically. The defendant’s truck slammed into another vehicle, killing a mother of three children.
The defendant’s blood test showed a .20 BAC, over twice the legal limit. He was convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide based on the extremely high intoxication level and reckless driving. He received a sentence of 8 to 24 years in prison.
This case illustrates how steep penalties can be for this crime when excessive drunk driving results in loss of life. But an experienced criminal defense lawyer can thoroughly examine the facts for any potential defenses.
Aggravated vehicular homicide is a felony in New York that can result in up to 25 years imprisonment. But alleged violations of Penal Law 125.14 can be challenged by an assertive defense. With so much at stake, anyone facing this charge needs expert legal representation.