Morris County NJ Vehicular Manslaughter Defense Lawyers

Vehicular Homicide Attorneys Located in Morristown, New Jersey

Morris County Vehicular Manslaughter Lawyers

N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5 Vehicular Homicide in New Jersey

Vehicular manslaughter is an extremely serious charge. The NJ statute specifically targets the use of a cell phone while driving. New Jersey courts have interpreted the legislative intent to give rise to an inference that the defendant was driving recklessly if he or she was using a cell phone during the vehicular homicide or assault by auto. If you’ve been charged with vehicular manslaughter, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.

The Tormey Law Firm is a criminal defense firm with years of experience representing clients charged with criminal and traffic offenses in Morris County, including Morristown, Parsippany, Mount Olive, Hanover, Jefferson, and Denville. After carefully reviewing your case, we will inform you of your rights and the charges you are facing and begin to craft a strong defense for you. Our team includes a former Morris County Municipal Prosecutor, which gives us a major advantage when negotiating for reduced charges because we know how the other side thinks. Our attorneys appear in courts all over the state and have built a good reputation with the judges and prosecutors in New Jersey. If you or a loved one has been charged with vehicular assault, manslaughter, or homicide, contact the knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm anytime for a free consultation about your specific case. You can reach us toll-free at 866-949-6948, or you can use our online form to schedule an appointment at our offices in Morristown.

Death by Auto or Vessel in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5

Vehicular homicide is generally a crime of the second degree, punishable by imprisonment of five (5) to 10 years and a fine of up to $150,000.

Assault by auto is a crime of the fourth degree if serious bodily injury occurs, and a disorderly persons offense if bodily injury occurs. A fourth degree crime is punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. The penalty for a disorderly persons offense is imprisonment for up to six (6) months and a fine of up to $1,000.

N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5 Death by Vehicular Homicide

a. Criminal homicide constitutes vehicular homicide when it is caused by driving a vehicle or vessel recklessly.

Proof that the defendant fell asleep while driving or was driving after having been without sleep for a period in excess of 24 consecutive hours may give rise to an inference that the defendant was driving recklessly. Proof that the defendant was driving while intoxicated in violation of R.S.39:4-50 or was operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs in violation of section 3 of P.L.1952, c. 157 (C.12:7-46) shall give rise to an inference that the defendant was driving recklessly. Proof that the defendant was operating a hand-held wireless telephone while driving a motor vehicle in violation of section 1 of P.L.2003, c. 310 (C.39:4-97.3) may give rise to an inference that the defendant was driving recklessly. Nothing in this section shall be construed to in any way limit the conduct or conditions that may be found to constitute driving a vehicle or vessel recklessly.

b. Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection, vehicular homicide is a crime of the second degree.

(1) If the defendant was operating the auto or vessel while under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or with a blood alcohol concentration at or above the prohibited level as prescribed in R.S.39:4-50, or if the defendant was operating the auto or vessel while his driver’s license or reciprocity privilege was suspended or revoked for any violation of R.S.39:4-50, section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C.39:4-50.4a), by the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles pursuant to P.L.1982, c. 85 (C.39:5-30a et seq.), or by the court for a violation of R.S.39:4-96, the defendant shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term. The minimum term shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed by the court or three years, whichever is greater, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.

(2) The court shall not impose a mandatory sentence pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection unless the grounds therefor have been established at a hearing. At the hearing, which may occur at the time of sentencing, the prosecutor shall establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant was operating the auto or vessel while under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or with a blood alcohol concentration at or above the level prescribed inR.S.39:4-50 or that the defendant was operating the auto or vessel while his driver’s license or reciprocity privilege was suspended or revoked for any violation of R.S.39:4-50, section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C.39:4-50.4a), by the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles pursuant to P.L.1982, c. 85 (C.39:5-30a et seq.), or by the court for a violation of R.S.39:4-96. In making its findings, the court shall take judicial notice of any evidence, testimony or information adduced at the trial, plea hearing, or other court proceedings and shall also consider the presentence report and any other relevant information.

(3) Vehicular homicide is a crime of the first degree if the defendant was operating the auto or vessel while in violation of R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C.39:4-50.4a) while:

(a) on any school property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of such school property;

(b) driving through a school crossing as defined in R.S.39:1-1 if the municipality, by ordinance or resolution, has designated the school crossing as such; or

(c) driving through a school crossing as defined in R.S.39:1-1 knowing that juveniles are present if the municipality has not designated the school crossing as such by ordinance or resolution.

A map or true copy of a map depicting the location and boundaries of the area on or within 1,000 feet of any property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board produced pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1987, c. 101 (C.2C:35-7) may be used in a prosecution under subparagraph (a) of this paragraph.

It shall be no defense to a prosecution for a violation of subparagraph (a) or (b) of this paragraph that the defendant was unaware that the prohibited conduct took place while on or within 1,000 feet of any school property or while driving through a school crossing. Nor shall it be a defense to a prosecution under subparagraph (a) or (b) of this paragraph that no juveniles were present on the school property or crossing zone at the time of the offense or that the school was not in session.

(4) If the defendant was operating the auto or vessel in violation of R.S. 39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C.39:4-50.4a), the defendant’s license to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended for a period of between five years and life, which period shall commence upon completion of any prison sentence imposed upon that person.

Elements of a Vehicular Manslaughter Charge in NJ

In order for a person to be found guilty of vehicular manslaughter in New Jersey, the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the defendant was driving a vehicle [or vessel]; (2) that the defendant caused the death of (name victim); and (3) that the defendant caused such death by driving the vehicle [or vessel] recklessly. In order to find that the defendant caused the victim’s death, the prosecutor must prove that the victim would not have died but for defendant’s conduct.

The crucial element of this crime is established by the third element. The State must prove that the accused drove a motor vehicle recklessly. The term “recklessly” is defined to mean when a person consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that death will result from his or her conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and purpose of the defendant’s conduct and the circumstances known to him or her, disregard of the risk involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the defendant’s situation.

Contact a Denville NJ Vehicular Homicide Lawyer for a Free Consultation 

If you or your loved one has been charged with a vehicular manslaughter, death by auto, in New Jersey, do not hesitate to contact the Tormey Law Firm. One of our experienced Morris County vehicular manslaughter defense lawyers will be happy to review the facts of your case and answer any questions you might have about your charges. We know how to successfully fight vehicular manslaughter charges in New Jersey and we will work with you to craft the best defense possible for your case.

Contact us today for a free consultation about your case. You can reach us toll-free at 866-949-6948, or you can use the online contact form to schedule an appointment at our Morristown offices.

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With unmatched knowledge and experience in the practice of law, the seasoned attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm are committed to serving their clients and tenaciously confronting the allegations against them.

We will examine every facet of your case in order to defend your constitutional rights and reputation.

With a dedicated legal advocate to assist you, our attorneys will ensure that you are never forced to navigate the complex legal process on your own.

The Tormey Law Firm

Morristown Location

55 Madison Avenue, Suite 400, Morristown, NJ 07960

(908) 336-5008 Directions

Areas we serve

All of Morris County including Boonton, Boonton Township, Butler, Chatham Borough, Chatham Township, Chester Borough, Chester Township, Denville Township, Dover, East Hanover Township, Florham Park, Hanover Township, Harding Township, Jefferson Township, Kinnelon, Lincoln Park, Long Hill Township, Madison, Mendham Borough, Mendham Township, Mine Hill Township, Mont Arlington, Montville, Morris Plains, Morris Township, Morristown, Mount Olive Township, Mountain Lakes, Netcong, Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, Pequannock Township, Randolph, Riverdale, Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township, Roxbury Township, Victory Gardens, Washington Township, and Wharton.

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