Asheville Vehicular Homicide Defense Lawyer

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Asheville Vehicular Homicide Defense Attorney

While no fatal accident is a pleasant situation, criminal allegations worsen the situation. It can lead to imprisonment or professional license revocation. Being accused of vehicular manslaughter or murder in North Carolina does not automatically make you guilty. The charge against you might be withdrawn for a variety of reasons.

You should consider hiring a lawyer immediately to fight for your legal rights as the case may involve the police, insurance, and opposing attorneys. No matter the charges you are up against, our Asheville vehicular homicide defense lawyers can assist you in securing the best possible outcome for your case.

We will use our expertise to examine the prosecution’s case and develop a quality defense approach to the specifics of your case. Are you facing vehicular manslaughter/homicide charges in Asheville? Call us at (828) 702-8743 to talk to the seasoned Asheville DUI defense attorneys at Doug Edwards Law.

Table of Contents

What Is Vehicular Homicide?

Vehicular homicide, or vehicular manslaughter, occurs when you unintentionally kill another person while operating a vehicle. In North Carolina, there are a number of laws that apply to situations where someone is killed as a result of a motor vehicle collision. The charges that may apply to any incident are fact specific and will be driven by the unique circumstances of each case.

Most commonly, these types of charges arise out of impaired driving cases. However, they are not limited solely to cases involving DUI. For example, if someone is driving too fast for the conditions or roadway, is distracted by their cell phone or radio, or fails to slow to avoid a collision, and they are involved in a collision that results in death, authorities may file vehicular homicide charges.

Currently, you can be charged with vehicular homicide if you kill someone in an accident due to negligence or recklessness. However, there are many circumstances that may lead to a charge of vehicular homicide in North Carolina. It is important to speak to an experienced attorney immediately upon finding out that you are under investigation in a vehicular homicide-related case.

Are There Types of Vehicular Homicide That Do Not Involve a DUI?

Your offense is automatically elevated to vehicular homicide if you committed the accident while intoxicated. The accusation can even change to aggravated felony death by car, a more severe offense with harsher punishments if you have been convicted of DWI within the previous seven years.

You may lose your driver’s license and vehicle if you are accused of a second DWI and a crime involving a fatal accident. The court may also rule on drug treatment programs as a condition of your release from jail or while incarcerated.

While most vehicular homicide charges in North Carolina involve DUI, other unlawful activities can also lead to a vehicular homicide charge. Asheville vehicular homicide defense attorneys at Doug Edwards Law can assist with defending against the charges. Knowing about situations that don’t involve drunk driving is also beneficial.

Such situations include:

Careless Driving

Driving carelessly in North Carolina may result in charges for vehicular homicide if you cause a deadly accident. Careless driving involves failing to exercise the same degree of caution that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances.

Distracted or inattentive driving may also be considered careless and/or reckless driving. An example of distracted driving is texting while driving or taking your eyes off the road for some seconds to adjust the radio which leads to an accident. You may be charged with vehicular homicide when such careless acts result in the death of another person.

Safety and Legislation Violation

Involuntary manslaughter is defined as the unintentional killing of another person resulting from negligence or criminal negligence. Under N.C. law, a person is guilty of this crime if he or she kills another human being by an unlawful act that does not amount to a felony and is not ordinarily dangerous to life, or by a culpably negligent act or omission. You may be prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter if you disregard a safety regulation and cause an accident.

In certain situations, manslaughter charges may be brought against you if you are exceeding the speed limit, making an illegal U-turn, or passing a car in a no-passing zone.

Fatigued or Sleepy Driving

Numerous car accidents are caused by drivers who are too sleepy or fall asleep behind the wheel. However, you might not be charged with vehicular manslaughter if someone dies. Investigators will look to determine whether or not your actions were culpably negligent in these situations.

Proximate Cause

In North Carolina, the State must prove that an unlawful act or violation of safety statute was the proximate cause of injury or death to another. Proximate cause has been defined by North Carolina Courts as a real cause, without which the victim’s death or injury would not have occurred, and one that a reasonably careful and prudent person could foresee would probably produce such injury or death, or some similar result.

To prove proximate cause, the State only needs to prove that the defendant’s actions were a causenot the only cause of the victim’s injury or death. It is sufficient to prove proximate cause, if the defendant’s act occurred with some other cause that occurred at the same time which, in combination with it, proximately caused the victim’s death or injury. You may not be responsible for the victim’s harm if the result is so remote from your conduct, omission, or extraordinary that it could not have been anticipated.

You can be found guilty of vehicular homicide in North Carolina if your actions are a proximate cause of the death of another. Such causes include some intentional behaviors. For instance, if you are texting while driving and you swerve and crash. Or you are intentionally speeding and are unable to slow down in time to avoid a collision. In situations like these, if your actions are determined to be the proximate cause of another’s death, you may be charged with vehicular homicide.

Proximate cause is among the most crucial aspects of a vehicular homicide case in North Carolina. The State must prove that your acts are the proximate cause for the harm through evidence obtained during an investigation. In many vehicular homicide cases, State investigators, including crash reconstruction experts, will be employed to recreate the crash. It is important that you have an experienced defense attorney to put together a defense team to provide the best possible defense.

Whether or not your actions are the proximate cause of the injury or death will certainly be at the center of any investigation and ultimately may determine whether or not you are guilty or not. It is critically important that you consider seeking legal counsel from a professional vehicular homicide defense attorney in Asheville to begin a defense-specific investigation and develop a unique and credible defense.

What Are the Different Types of Vehicular Homicide Charges and Penalties in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, you may be prosecuted for vehicular homicide if you kill someone due to driving while intoxicated or violating a safety statute. The different types of vehicular homicide charges and penalties in North Carolina include:

Misdemeanor Death-By-Vehicle

A person commits the offense of misdemeanor death by vehicle if: (1) the person unintentionally causes the death of another person; (2) the person engaged in the violation of any State law or local ordinance applying to the operation of a vehicle, other than impaired driving, and the violation is the proximate cause of the victim’s death.

If convicted of misdemeanor death by vehicle your driver’s license will be suspended for at least a year. You also risk receiving a substantial fine and serving up to 150 days in jail if you are found guilty. It is also important to understand that if you are convicted of misdemeanor death by vehicle, you will not be eligible for a limited driving privilege that would allow you to drive for certain purposes during the period of your suspension.

Felony Death-By-Vehicle

You may be charged with Felony death-by-vehicle if you are believed to be impaired at the time of an accident that kills another person. The State must prove that the impaired driving was a proximate cause of the victim’s death. Felony Death by Vehicle is a Class D Felony that carries a maximum possible prison sentence of 204 months.

You may also be subjected to additional penalties such as substantial fines and license revocations. In many cases, if you are convicted of Felony Death by Vehicle, restitution is ordered to be paid to the victim’s family.

Aggravated Felony Death-By-Vehicle

Aggravated felony death-by-vehicle is a Class D felony in North Carolina. This offense occurs when someone is driving while impaired at the time of an accident that results in another person’s death. The difference between Felony Death by Vehicle and Aggravated Felony Death by Vehicle is that to prove Aggravated Felony Death by Vehicle the State must prove that the defendant has a prior DUI/DWI conviction within the preceding 7 years from the date of the current offense.

If you are found guilty, the judge must sentence you in the aggravated range with a maximum possible punishment of 204 months. in prison. Fines and other penalties may apply in Aggravated Felony Death by Vehicle cases.

Involuntary Manslaughter

In North Carolina, the State can establish involuntary manslaughter by demonstrating that you committed a non-felony crime such as driving while intoxicated or an act that was culpably negligent and resulted in the death of another person.

You may be subject to severe penalties when charged with malicious or unconsented vehicular manslaughter. Our skilled Asheville vehicular homicide defense lawyers at Doug Edwards Law are accustomed to defending clients against criminal accusations in North Carolina. We will work tirelessly to assist you in achieving the best outcome in your case.

What Should I Do If I Am Charged With Vehicular Homicide in North Carolina?

What you do after killing or injuring someone in a car accident is crucial as it significantly impacts your future. Accidents happen, and just because you are being investigated or charged with a crime, does not mean you are guilty. Contact us immediately if you are under investigation or have been charged with a crime. We will work to aggressively defend you and protect your rights.

Never Leave the Scene!

Leaving the scene of an accident when someone is injured or killed can result in you being charged with the offense of Felony Hit and Run, which is a Class F felony with a maximum possible prison sentence of 59 months in prison. Remain at the scene of the collision.

Do Not Resist an Arrest

Under North Carolina law, if you resist arrest you can be charged with Resisting a Public Officer which is a Class 2 misdemeanor. While you should not speak to the police without an attorney, you should cooperate with their requests. You should inform investigators immediately that you want your lawyer present. Talk to expert vehicular homicide defense lawyers in Asheville for assistance if you are accused of vehicular homicide.

Should I Talk to the Police?

Remember, anything you say CAN and WILL BE used against you in Court. Police officers take detailed notes of every conversation they have during an investigation, and most officers are wearing body camera devices that continuously record. Do not discuss details of the accident, do not admit liability or responsibility, and request an attorney if prior to being questioned by the police.

Law enforcement officers may ask you certain questions without reading you your rights. It is best to not talk with investigators until you have had an opportunity to talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Asheville.

Consult Asheville Vehicular Homicide Defense Lawyers at Doug Edwards Law

Our Vehicular Homicide Defense Attorneys are knowledgeable and can defend you against the accusations. Doug Edwards Law is prepared to fight for your rights.

In Need of a Vehicular Homicide Defense Attorney in Asheville?

Being accused of vehicular homicide or manslaughter in North Carolina can have substantial legal repercussions. Working with a skilled criminal defense lawyer in North Carolina is a crucial first step in defending your future, legal record, and reputation. It is always better to speak with an experienced defense attorney about your case before speaking to anyone in law enforcement or insurance representatives.

Doug Edwards has extensive experience in this area, having handled dozens of vehicular homicide cases ranging from misdemeanor death by vehicle to Second Degree Murder. He has worked with crash reconstruction experts and is intimately familiar with all aspects of a crash investigation.

Doug understands the technology used by investigators to obtain evidence from vehicles when they are involved in collisions. He has received in-depth training and taught other professionals in the area of vehicular homicide.

You have the power to significantly alter the result of your case with the aid of our Asheville vehicular homicide defense attorneys. Our team at Doug Edwards Law has the skills and experience to help you in and out of court.

Call us at (828) 702-8743 to speak to vehicular homicide defense lawyers in Asheville if you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter in North Carolina.

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