The state may charge a person who causes the death of another person while driving a vehicle recklessly with vehicular manslaughter. This charge can result from accidents that do and do not involve alcohol.
Causing the death of a person while driving under the influence can also result in strict liability vehicular homicide charges under New Jersey law. What is strict liability vehicular homicide, and what are the penalties?
Strict liability vehicular homicide
To obtain a conviction on a strict liability vehicular homicide charge, the state must prove three elements:
- Defendant was driving the vehicle
- Defendant caused the death of a person
- Defendant caused the death by driving a vehicle while intoxicated
This law may apply to the operation of any motorized vehicle.
Strict liability vehicular homicide is a third-degree offense with a penalty of between three and five years in prison and a fine of as much as $15,000. Additionally, the state can choose to also pursue aggravated manslaughter or vehicular homicide charges, which could result in five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000 to $200,000, depending on whether the charge is a first or second-degree charge.
A conviction can also result in a license suspension of five years to life, and vehicular manslaughter charges are subject to the No Early Release Act, which means people convicted of the crime must serve at least 85% of their sentence.
Driving while intoxicated can result in multiple serious charges. When the death of another person due to a motor vehicle accident occurs, the consequences can be even more severe.