Death by Auto

Mercer County NJ Death by Auto Attorneys

When a car accident occurs and someone dies as a result of it, an individual runs the risk of being charged with death by auto in New Jersey. As you will see below, an individual can be charged with death by auto for a variety of different reasons. To do so, the state must be able to establish that the individual was operating their vehicle in a reckless manner. One of the most common scenarios that leads to an individual being with death by auto in Mercer County is when it is alleged that the driver was driving while intoxicated at the time of the accident. Death by auto is a serious criminal offense in New Jersey. One that if not handled properly could cost an individual a decade of their life. If you have been charged with death by auto or one if its ancillary charges like aggravated assault, assault by auto, DWI, eluding, unlawful possession of a weapon or DUI, in Mercer County, it is crucial that you speak to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

If you have been charged with death by auto in Mercer County, in towns like Lawrence, Ewing, Hamilton, Trenton, Robbinsville, Princeton, West Windsor or East Windsor, the criminal defense attorneys at Proetta & Oliver can help. At Proetta & Oliver we strive to make sure that every possible avenue of defense is examined in order to assure that our clients rights are fully protected.  Our office understands that no two cases let alone no two clients are the same. As such, we will craft a game plan that works best to achieve your desirable results. If you would like to speak with one of our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys today about your options then please contact us at (609) 789-0779. As always, our initial consultations are always free of costs, so if you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Hamilton NJ Death By Auto Lawyer

Death By Auto Charges in NJ: NJSA 2C:11-5

Death by auto, also referred to as vehicular manslaughter, is governed by NJSA 2C:11-5 in New Jersey. This offense in essence seeks to prosecute a Defendant who is alleged have operated  a motor vehicle in a reckless manner and as a result a death occurs. In order to be convicted of this offense, the prosecution would need to prove:

  • That the Defendant was operating a vehicle/vessel;
  • That the Defendant caused the death of another; &
  • The death occurred as a result of the Defendant’s reckless driving.

To establish that the Defendant’s reckless conduct caused the victim’s death, the State must show that the victim would not have died but for Defendant’s conduct. The courts will allow an inference to be drawn that the Defendant was in fact acting “recklessly” if the State can establish one of the following:

  • The Defendant was driving while intoxicated;
  • The Defendant was driving while using a handheld device; or
  • The Defendant was driving after going 24 consecutive hours without sleeping or they fell asleep behind the wheel.

How to Defend a Death by Auto Charge in NJ?

One of the main areas for an experienced defense attorney to attack is the alleged “reckless” conduct. To prove that the Defendant acted recklessly, the state must show that they consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk that death would occur as a result of their conduct. In other words, the Defendant’s conduct was a “gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the defendant’s situation”. The vagueness of the statute gives an experienced Mercer County criminal defense attorney an angle to attack when it comes to defending these types of offense. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys about your options and possible defenses, then please contact us at (609) 789-0779.

How long does someone go to Jail for Death by Auto in NJ?

Death by auto is a second degree felony offense in New Jersey unless the Defendant is alleged to have been driving while intoxicated through a school zone when the incident happened. A second degree felony offense is punishable by anywhere from five (5) to ten (10) years in a State Prison, a fine up to $150,000, a felony criminal record. Conversely, a first degree felony carries with it a potential jail sentence ranging anywhere from ten to twenty years, a fine up to $200,000 and a felony criminal record. In addition, both degrees are subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA). NERA in essence requires that a Defendant serve at least 85% of their sentence before they can become eligible for parole.  

Death by Auto Attorneys in Princeton NJ

If you have been charged with death by auto, driving under the influence, eluding, terroristic threats, aggravated assault, assault by auto or vehicular homicide in Mercer County, Proetta & Oliver can help. Our attorneys have been defending clients charged with various criminal offenses in towns throughout Mercer County, including towns like Lawrence, Hamilton, Ewing, Trenton, East Windsor, Hopewell and West Windsor for years. If you would like to have a free face to face consultation with one of our experienced Mercer County criminal defense lawyers then please contact us directly at (609) 789-0779. We are well aware that these types of offenses occur at all hours of the day, so we try to make ourselves available around the clock to help assist in anyway that we can.