Camden County Vehicular Manslaughter Defense Lawyer
Thoughtful & Effective Defense Strategies
If you or someone you love has been accused of driving recklessly and causing an accident that resulted in a fatality, you can be charged with death by auto or criminal vehicular homicide. Vehicular manslaughter is generally a second-degree criminal charge.
Penalties can include:
- Serious prison time
- License suspension
- Forfeiture of vehicle
- Monetary fines
The offense can be escalated to a first-degree crime with longer prison terms if certain conditions are met.
Do not waste time in retaining our experienced Camden County vehicular manslaughter defense attorney who can immediately make efforts to get your charges and your bail reduced. Attorney Jill R. Cohen is a former Camden County assistant prosecutor. As such, she has a unique understanding of how South Jersey prosecutors build their cases against people charged with vehicular manslaughter. That knowledge is complemented by over 30 years of criminal defense experience.
Understanding Vehicular Manslaughter Charges
As New Jersey law states, death by auto occurs when someone is killed by a reckless driver. The vehicle can be an automobile or any other type of motor vehicle. The victim can be the driver or passenger in another vehicle, a pedestrian, a bicycle rider, or a passenger in your car.
To be convicted of vehicular homicide under N.J.S.A. § 2C:11-5, the prosecution will have to prove the defendant drove recklessly at the time of the incident. If the defendant drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if the defendant drove while suspended for a DUI, there is a presumption that they were reckless.
Additionally, there are certain behaviors that New Jersey prosecutors categorize as reckless, including:
- DUI/DWI, regardless of what substance was involved (alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs)
- Falling asleep while operating the vehicle
- Operating a vehicle while sleep-deprived, causing the driver to weave, swerve, etc.
There are also scenarios that can impact the severity of the offense. If a vehicular homicide occurs under certain circumstances and the driver is intoxicated or is driving while suspended for DUI, it will result in a first-degree charge with harsher penalties.
Potential aggravating factors include:
- Committing the offense on school property or within 1,000 feet of school property
- Committing the offense while driving through a school crossing
- Committing the offense while driving through a non-school zone but with knowledge that children were present
- Committing the offense on property used by schools
Cases involving drugs require special defense strategies with which Attorney Jill Cohen is extremely familiar. In fact, Ms. Cohen has been recognized by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer.
Penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter
Vehicular manslaughter is normally a second-degree charge with an accompanying prison term of five to 10 years. Upon release from prison, the offender will also have their driver’s license suspended for anywhere from five years to a lifetime revocation. The harshest penalties are levied if the defendant committed the offense when driving while suspended or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If the offender is convicted of vehicular manslaughter in the first degree, extra penalties will be imposed. For example, first-degree offenders are required to forfeit the vehicle that was used in the offense. A savvy Camden County vehicular manslaughter lawyer like Attorney Jill Cohen may be able to negotiate for a reduction in penalties, including an agreement that would allow you to keep the vehicle by convincing the court it would cause hardship to your family.
Vehicular homicide is a charge that is subject to New Jersey’s No Early Release Act (NERA). The NERA requires convicted offenders to serve at least 85% of their sentence before they are eligible for parole. Plea bargaining is essential in vehicular manslaughter cases. Ms. Cohen has relationships with the county prosecutors’ offices throughout New Jersey, which she uses to her advantage when plea bargaining.
Contact The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen
If you or a loved one is facing a serious criminal charge such as vehicular manslaughter in Camden County or anywhere else in New Jersey, you need a lawyer on your side right away. Pay attention to your rights; stay silent and request an attorney. Camden County vehicular manslaughter defense attorney Jill Cohen can meet you where you are – even in prison – and will get to work to prove your actions were not reckless.
Schedule a free consultation with us by calling (856) 351-5115.
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