Anytime an accident occurs and a person’s life is taken, the lives of all the people involved and their families are touched very deeply. When such an accident may be your fault, the emotional toll that it takes can be truly overwhelming in every sense of the word. That is why it is so important that when deciding which law firm to hire to defend you in this type of case– or any other case for that matter – it is important to find a firm that will provide you with the personal attention that you need to be informed and secure as you grieve and deal with the situation at hand.
It is no secret that it is a crime to cause the death of another when operating or participating in the operation of a motor vehicle, motorcycle, snowmobile, locomotive, water or aircraft. However, the consequences of such a crime are aggravated under the law by any of the following circumstances:
- While under the influence of alcohol or drugs of abuse or the combination of both;
- In an unsafe manner;
- While committing a reckless operation offense in a construction zone (motor vehicle or motorcycle);
- While speeding in a construction zone (motor vehicle or motorcycle); and
- While committing an unlawful act that does not amount to a felony.
It is also important to know that the victim in such a case may be either a person not in the car with the offender – such as a pedestrian or another individual in a completely different vehicle - or even a passenger in the vehicle, itself.
Aggravated vehicular homicide charges are generally felonies of varying degrees. The degree of felony varies based upon the circumstances of the case. For instance, whether the death occurred while operating a motor vehicle recklessly in a construction zone, or whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the operation of the vehicle that caused the death in the case. Even driving with a suspended license or certain prior convictions on a suspect’s record can cause the matter to be charged as a felony.
Vehicular homicide, on the other hand, is generally a first-degree misdemeanor, but can be as much as a fourth degree felony - if the alleged offender has prior traffic-related assaults, manslaughter, or homicide convictions. Oddly enough, felony vehicular homicide also applies when the driver of the vehicle that caused the death was driving under a suspended operator’s license. This crime differs from aggravated vehicular homicide in that it applies when negligence is obvious, or if the operator of the vehicle is speeding through a construction zone.
Finally, vehicular manslaughter occurs when the operator of the motor vehicle takes the life of another while simply committing an unlawful act. Under most circumstances it is only a second degree misdemeanor; however, it can be heightened to a first degree misdemeanor if the alleged offender has prior traffic-related assaults, manslaughter, or homicide convictions.
At Eyer Stone, LTD we have experience dealing with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter, and we have successfully defended individuals charged state court.
It is imperative that those individuals who may be under investigation or under arrest for aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter charges assert their right to remain silent and their right to an attorney. It does not matter whether he or she actually committed any crime, remaining silent until he or she has spoken with a competent criminal defense attorney is often the difference in finding the truth and/or successfully asserting a defense to such charges in Ohio.
Convictions for aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter can lead to prolonged incarceration in state prison and even a life sentence in a federal penitentiary, loss of employment, loss of the right to vote and loss of the right to carry a firearm – just to name a few.
Eyer Stone, LTD is conveniently located in Bucyrus, Ohio – equidistant to most federal and state courts in Northcentral Ohio and represents individuals throughout Crawford, Seneca, Wyandot County and all over Northcentral Ohio; and in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. In fact, we have even been accepted to practice pro hac vice in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
If you are under investigation for aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter charges, or have a loved one incarcerated under either of these statutes anywhere in Ohio or across the country, we invite you to contact us today for a confidential consultation.