Are you facing vehicular homicide charges in Ohio? If so, know that you’re not alone, and an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Moermond & Mulligan, LLC will be ready to stand up for you. The accident that led to your charges might have happened in the blink of an eye, but the repercussions of a conviction could haunt you for the rest of your life. The good news is that you can safeguard your rights and future by seeking help from the criminal defense attorneys at Moermond & Mulligan, LLC as soon as possible after being charged.
To learn more about our approach and what we can do for you, please read on or contact our vehicular homicide defense lawyers for a free, confidential case review with zero obligation.
Do I Need A Vehicular Homicide Defense Lawyer?
Taking on the criminal justice system alone is never a good idea. You have law enforcement and the prosecution working against you from day one, using every resource at their disposal to discredit, blame, and convict you. Then there are the complex legal requirements, the specific procedures of local court systems, and the peculiarities of individual judges and prosecutors. A single misstep in this labyrinthine institution could have dire consequences that follow you for life.
That’s why you should always work with a criminal defense lawyer after being charged with vehicular homicide in Ohio. Your lawyer can protect your rights and minimize the repercussions of the charges against you by:
- Reviewing the charges you are facing and explaining your options every step of the way
- Providing dependable legal guidance based on decades of criminal law experience
- Investigating the circumstances of the accident to identify and preserve valuable evidence
- Interviewing witnesses who saw the crash to obtain unbiased statements in your defense
- Working with experts like crash reconstructionists to get compelling professional testimony
- Communicating with others on your behalf so you don’t have to watch every word you say
- Arguing that you did not act with intent or recklessness in causing the accident
- Presenting evidence showing you had a medical emergency at the time of the collision
- Showing proof of a mechanical defect in your vehicle, which you could not have reasonably known about when the accident occurred, contributed to the crash
- Demonstrating that the negligent or reckless behavior of a third party caused the accident
- Uncovering proof of police misconduct in your case, such as unlawful search or seizure
- Negotiating with prosecutors to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed
- Representing you at trial, arguing your case in court, and working to minimize possible penalties
- Filing an appeal and fighting for downgraded or alternative sentences in the event of a conviction
Why Choose Moermond & Mulligan, LLC to Handle Your Vehicular Homicide Case?
If you have been charged with vehicular homicide in Ohio, you deserve skilled and attentive legal representation. The defense attorneys at Moermond & Mulligan, LLC are here to deliver. We have the resources and experience to handle your case with urgency and care. Seeking our help with vehicular homicide charges ensures an aggressive defense on your behalf.
Founder L. Patrick Mulligan is a former prosecutor with years of experience on both sides of the criminal justice system. He is also a board-certified specialist in criminal law, meaning he has considerable expertise in this practice area. Mr. Mulligan and his skilled attorneys have defended numerous Ohioans against various criminal charges with a strong success rate.
Our firm’s commitment to personalized attention sets us apart from the rest. We take the time to really listen to our clients and develop custom legal solutions based on their unique circumstances. We understand facing criminal charges is stressful; we aim to handle the legal legwork, easing your burden.
How Does Ohio Define Vehicular Homicide?
Vehicular homicide, unlike murder, involves unintentionally causing death while driving, not intentional killing.
In Ohio, vehicular homicide is one of three separate offenses that can describe a crime involving unintentionally killing another human being with a motor vehicle. Ohio law also criminalizes vehicular manslaughter and aggravated vehicular homicide. Let’s review how the law defines each of these similar types of offenses:
- Vehicular homicide – Drivers can be charged with vehicular homicide if they cause the death of another person or unborn fetus while driving negligently or speeding in a construction zone.
- Aggravated vehicular homicide – A driver could face aggravated vehicular homicide charges if they cause the death of a person or unborn child while driving recklessly or under the influence.
- Vehicular manslaughter – A driver might be charged with vehicular manslaughter if they kill another person or unborn fetus while committing a minor misdemeanor traffic infraction.
The key difference between these charges is what the driver was doing at the time of the accident. If a driver commits a minor traffic offense and causes a fatal accident, they could face vehicular manslaughter charges. Driving negligently or speeding in construction zones causing death can lead authorities to charge with vehicular homicide. And a reckless or intoxicated driver might face aggravated vehicular homicide charges if they caused a fatal wreck.
Negligence Versus Recklessness
In legal terms, especially in vehicular homicide cases, “negligent” and “reckless” have distinct meanings, despite being conversational synonyms. Vehicular homicide involves negligence, while aggravated vehicular homicide involves recklessness. Authorities deem a driver negligent in criminal cases when a genuine error harms someone, not from malice or indifference. On the other hand, a reckless driver is aware of the fact that their behavior poses a danger to others but consciously proceeds anyway, despite the risks. This is why Ohio prosecutes aggravated vehicular homicide more harshly.
In some cases, the distinction between negligence and recklessness is less important. If caught driving under the influence before a fatal accident, authorities may charge you with aggravated vehicular homicide. However, other cases might be more open to interpretation based on what you were doing when the crash occurred. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can analyze evidence against you and negotiate to downgrade or dismiss the charges.
Penalties for Vehicular Homicide in Ohio
Specific traffic crime details determine how we classify vehicular homicide and its potential penalties.
A first-time vehicular manslaughter offense is usually a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to $750 in fines, 90 days in jail, and a mandatory license suspension of six to 36 months. If someone commits vehicular manslaughter while driving without a valid license or has a prior conviction for a similar crime, the offense is upgraded to a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and six months in prison.
Prosecutors typically charge first-time vehicular homicide offenses as first-degree misdemeanors if negligence or speeding in a construction zone contributed to someone’s death. First-degree misdemeanor vehicular homicide is punishable by up to $1,000 in fines, six months in prison, and a one- to five-year license suspension. If someone commits vehicular homicide while driving on a suspended license or with a prior conviction for a similar offense, the crime is elevated to a fourth-degree felony, punishable by up to $5,000 in fines, six to 18 months in jail, and license suspension for two years to life.
Aggravated vehicular homicide
In Ohio, reckless driving causing first-time vehicular homicide incurs hefty fines, prison, and long license suspension.
In cases involving driving under the influence (DUI), aggravated vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to $15,000 in fines, two to eight years in jail, and mandatory license suspension for life.
If someone has a prior conviction for a similar offense or gets convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide while driving on a suspended license, the crime is upgraded to a first-degree felony, punishable by up to $20,000 in fines, 11 to 15 years in jail, and the possibility of a lifetime driver’s license suspension.
In Ohio, vehicular homicide convictions can lead to fines, jail time, license suspensions, and other consequences. If convicted, you might suffer damage to your reputation, strained personal relationships, and difficulties finding or maintaining employment. That’s why it’s so important to work with a vehicular homicide defense lawyer from day one. Your attorney can challenge your evidence, devise smart defense strategies, and seek to reduce or dismiss your charges.
Contact a Vehicular Homicide Defense Attorney in Cincinnati
Don’t wait to get the help you need when dealing with vehicular homicide charges in Ohio. The Cincinnati traffic offense attorneys at Moermond & Mulligan, LLC have your back. When you’re ready to talk, call us at (513) 421-9790 or fill out our online contact page to begin your free initial case evaluation.