Death by Motor Vehicle Defense Attorney in Raleigh & Durham, NC
Death by Motor Vehicle is a serious criminal charge in North Carolina that can carry lifelong consequences for everyone involved. There is a misdemeanor version of the law that attaches criminal liability to a car accident that results in a death where there is no allegation of impairment on the part of the driver, and there is a felony version of the charge where the State alleges that Driving While Impaired is the proximate cause of the death of an individual.
If you’ve been charged with Death by Motor Vehicle, having an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side from day one is critical to getting through a process that is traumatic enough without the added stress of a criminal prosecution. Not just any attorney can competently handle a case with the level of complexity often involved in a vehicle-related death. A skilled attorney may find a viable defense to the charge that warrants fighting the case at trial, or in the alternative an attorney may be able to significantly reduce the impact of the charge on your life.
Misdemeanor Death by Motor Vehicle: N.C.G.S. 20-141.4(a2)
Under N.C.G.S. 20-141.4(a2), you may be charged with Misdemeanor Death by Motor Vehicle if you are alleged to have a) unintentionally caused the death of another individual, b) committed any violation of the traffic code other than DWI, and c) that violation was the proximate cause of the death.
Any time a traffic accident results in a death, the stakes are high. But the fact that you’re charged doesn’t necessarily mean that you are guilty of the offense, or that the State has sufficient evidence to prove your guilt. Bringing on an experienced traffic crimes attorney can fundamentally change the outcome of your case.
Felony DEATH BY MOTOR VEHICLE: N.C.G.S. 20-141.4(A1)
If you’re charged with Felony Death by Motor Vehicle, the State is alleging that you were driving while impaired (DWI) and that your impaired driving was the cause of the death of another individual — either in your vehicle, another vehicle, or a pedestrian. This is a Class D felony and could carry significant jail time, even if you have no prior record of any kind.
There are often significant questions of law and fact in a felony vehicle death case; the fact that you’re charged with this crime does not necessarily mean that you are guilty as charged. The State will not only have to prove that you were driving while impaired at the time of the accident, but they will have to prove that the fact of impaired driving was the proximate cause of the death. One does not necessarily follow from the other. Having a skilled criminal defense trial attorney at your side from the outset of your case will ensure that your rights are protected and that no stone is left unturned in your defense.
Other Felony Vehicle Offenses Under N.C.G.S. 20-141.4
In addition to Misdemeanor and Felony Death by Motor Vehicle, North Carolina law identifies several other types of conduct as felonies in traffic-related offenses involving death or serious injury. Felony Serious Injury by Motor Vehicle is a Class E felony, where you are alleged to have been driving while impaired and caused serious injury to another individual. Aggravated Felony Serious Injury by Motor Vehicle is also a Class E felony, with the same requirements as Felony Serious Injury but with the additional fact of a prior DWI conviction within the 7-year period prior to the incident date.
Aggravated Felony Death by Motor Vehicle is a Class D felony, where the State must prove the same elements of a Felony Death by Motor Vehicle in addition to a prior DWI conviction within the 7 years prior to the incident. Another important distinction relating to this offense is that, if convicted, the judge will be required to sentence you to active jail time. In a non-aggravated Felony Death by Motor Vehicle case, by contrast, the judge will have discretion to impose a probationary sentence.
Call Our Office for a Free, Confidential Consultation
Call a Raleigh & Durham criminal defense lawyer if you have been arrested or charged with any misdemeanor or felony offense in Raleigh or Durham, North Carolina, whether a theft crime or otherwise. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation at (919) 899-9404.