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What affects the severity of a vehicular homicide charge?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2022 | Criminal Defense, Criminal Law

Vehicular homicide occurs when a person perishes from negligent driving behavior. Depending on the situation, the consequences you face may vary significantly.

If you committed criminal vehicular homicide (CVO) or know someone who has, it helps to know what to expect. See below to learn more about the factors influencing a vehicular homicide charge.

What constitutes vehicular manslaughter?

According to Minnesota Statute 609.21, there are several ways to commit criminal vehicular manslaughter. The obvious ways are driving negligently and driving while intoxicated. However, you can also face charges for vehicular homicide if you knowingly drive a defective vehicle or leave the scene of an accident. The maximum jail time for a CVO is ten years. You may also pay up to a $20,000 fine. If there is proof of intent to cause death, you can face first-degree manslaughter charges. The maximum jail time for this charge is 15 years. However, it is pretty challenging to meet the burden of proof.

How does intoxication affect the charge?

If you cause the death of an individual by driving while intoxicated, you face charges not only for CVO but also for driving while intoxicated. One charge does not cancel the other out. Other factors that influence the severity of the charge include great or substantial bodily harm or harm to a child. If you injure or cause the death of an unborn child, the state of Minnesota considers this a felony offense as well.

Even though most CVOs do not occur with malicious intent, Minnesota enforces harsh penalties for these crimes. Consult with an attorney to understand what to expect. Never leave the scene of an accident, as it will negatively affect the outcome of your case.

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