Car accidents that result in the death of another are emotionally and psychologically draining. On top of that, if you were the driver and you were found to be acting in a reckless manner, you may also be facing criminal charges for Death by Auto or Vehicular Homicide (both used interchangeably). In Ocean County, New Jersey, a Death by Auto criminal charge is treated as a second degree offense with severe penalties including a lengthy prison sentence, steep fines, license suspension and forfeiture of your vehicle. Even more concerning is that fact that your charges may be elevated to a first degree crime (the most severe grade of crimes in New Jersey) if certain conditions exist.
When you are facing serious charges like Death By Auto, it is imperative that you employ an experienced criminal defense attorney. Proetta & Oliver is comprised of Criminal Lawyers who have handled countless cases throughout Ocean County during their careers. Whether you are facing criminal charges for Eluding, Driving While Intoxicated, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Aggravated Assault or Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney. Our firm, located in Point Pleasant, will gladly consult with you and your family regarding your pending criminal case. Our offices can be reached 24/7 for your convenience and the initial consultation is provided free of charge. If you or a loved one have been charged with Vehicular Homicide or Death by Auto in Toms River, Jackson, Manchester, Brick, Stafford, Lacey, Lakewood, Seaside Heights, Lakehurst or Point Pleasant, please do not hesitate to contact our Ocean County Lawyers at 848-238-2100.
N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5 Vehicular Homicide Lawyers
Criminal charges for Death By Auto is located under N.J.S.A. 2C:11.5. Specifically, this statute says that “criminal homicide constitutes reckless vehicular homicide when it is caused by driving a vehicle or vessel recklessly.” In essence, these cases boil-down to proving that the operator of the vehicle or vessel drove in a reckless manner. But what is recklessness? There are certain forms of conduct that a categorically treated as reckless. They include:
Driving without having slept in the last 24 hours;
If drugs or alcohol are involved, the State will be required to prove intoxication or impairment. This may require evidence involving Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), Blood Draws or Alcotest/Breathalyzer results. These types of evidence are highly scrutinized by the courts and may be subject to suppression if the correct protocol is not followed. Contact an attorney to see how this might affect your case.
What are the Penalties For Death by Auto in NJ?
The basic Death by Auto charge is a second degree offense. This carries a term of imprisonment between five (5) and ten (10) years, up to a lifetime license suspension and a $150,000 fine. However, Death by Auto is elevated to a first degree offense if the defendant was operating the vehicle under the influence of liquor or drugs or the defendant refused to submit to a chemical breath test and this occurred while operating the vehicle in a school zone. In those scenarios, the penalties for a first degree Death by Auto charge would include forfeiture of the vehicle involved, between ten (10) and twenty (20) years in State Prison and a $200,000 fine. You must be aware that both first and second degree death by auto charges fall under the No Early Release Act (NERA), which in essence requires a Defendant to serve at least 85% of their sentence before they can become eligible for parole.
Will I be Detained for Death By Auto Charges in NJ?
Recently, New Jersey issued an overhaul to the Pretrial Bail System. Under this bail reform, courts are directed to conduct hearings to determine whether defendant’s charged with certain offenses should be released on pretrial monitoring or detained without an option for monetary bail. These hearings are critically important for a number of reasons. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office will likely file a motion for your Pretrial Detention in you Death By Auto charge. If so, it is imperative that we fight the Prosecutor’s Motion for Pretrial Detention. Failure to win a Detention Hearing could result in your incarceration for the entire period leading up to trial (which can take an extended period of time).
Death By Auto Lawyers in Brick NJ
If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge such as vehicular homicide in Ocean County, or anywhere else in New Jersey, do not hire just any attorney. Find an experienced criminal defense attorney that you can trust to fight for you. The New Jersey Constitution affords us a great deal of rights and it is up to your attorney to invoke your protections under law to ensure that your due process is not violated. The Toms River criminal defense attorneys at Proetta & Oliver will gladly schedule a face-to-face consultation, either at our office or elsewhere, to discuss your case and plan out the road ahead. With the stakes being as high as they are in a Death by Auto criminal case, you cannot afford to put your life in the hands of just any attorney. Call 848-238-2100 today and start fighting back.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. All major credit cards are accepted.