DELAYED CHARGES FOR VEHICULAR HOMICIDE CAN OCCUR AFTER CRASHES
On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC on Friday, January 24, 2020.
If you get behind the wheel after drinking too much alcohol, taking prescription medication or trying recreational drugs, you have a substantially higher than average risk for causing a major collision. A crash related to impairment will likely mean that you face criminal charges brought by the state of New York. The exact scenario will impact what charges you face.
You can face specific charges related to the act of impaired driving, as well as charges related to the impact of your driving decisions. In addition to an impaired driving charge, for example, a driver who causes a crash that produces serious injury could face vehicular assault charges, as well as reckless driving charges.
You may feel fortunate if the crash you caused initially seemed to have only caused serious injuries. However, the medical condition of the other people involved in the crash could change. If someone succumbs to injuries that were not initially fatal after the crash, the state could decide to charge you with vehicular homicide despite the death not occurring at the scene of the crash.
The death does not need to be instant to be the result of impaired driving
People often find the idea that they could be held responsible for delayed consequences from a drunk driving crash very confusing. They might feel like they should only be responsible for charges related to injuries or property damage if someone died weeks or months after the initial collision. However, your criminal and financial liability related to the crash does not stem from the immediate aftermath but the full effect of your decisions.
Just like the surviving family members of the now-deceased injured party could bring a wrongful death claim against you related to the delayed loss of life, so too could the state of New York choose to bring charges against you, even if they formerly declined to do so.
The greater your impairment, the greater the potential risk
The way that New York charges vehicular homicide depends on the scenario. The vehicle and the degree of impairment in the driver will influence what kind of charges the state brings against someone.
An impaired driver over the limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% could face second-degree vehicular homicide charges. However, those who fall into the so-called super drunk category with a BAC of 0.18% or higher could face first-degree vehicular homicide charges.
Anyone who causes injury or death to other people in a crash that law enforcement officers allege involved alcohol or drugs could face serious penalties, including jail time. Delayed-onset conditions and worsening symptoms could mean that a situation that originally did not result in criminal charges later does.