Do I need a criminal defense lawyer if I caused a fatal accident?

If you caused a fatal collision, you need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You could be charged with a serious misdemeanor or felony traffic offense. This is especially true if you were driving while intoxicated. If convicted, you could face a lengthy prison sentence, hefty fines, or both. 

Vehicular Manslaughter Offense and Penalties #

If you were driving in Virginia while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and caused a crash where victims died, you could be charged with vehicular manslaughter. This crime is also referred to as involuntary manslaughter or vehicular homicide. In order to be convicted of this crime, the following must be proven:

  • Intoxication. You must be “under the influence.” This means, your impairment is observable by your manner, disposition, general appearance, behavior, muscular movements, or speech.
  • Cause of accident. It must be proven that your intoxication was the legal cause of the death of the person you killed. 

Vehicular homicide is a Class 5 felony in Virginia. There are two levels of punishment if you are convicted:

  • Vehicular manslaughter. You may be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500.
  • Aggravated vehicular manslaughter. If your conduct was so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a disregard for human life, you could be charged with aggravated vehicular manslaughter and face enhanced penalties. This crime is punishable by 1 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

Even if you are not charged with this offense, you could be charged with other serious traffic-related offenses such as a DUI or reckless driving, both punishable by a jail sentence and fine.

How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help #

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you build a strong defense if you are charged with vehicular homicide or another offense for causing a fatal accident. You may have defenses that can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense—even if you believe you are guilty. Call our Midlothian office today at 804-396-3329 to schedule a free consultation to learn how we will aggressively fight to obtain the best possible outcome for you.