Vehicular Homicide

Columbus Vehicular Homicide Lawyers

Fighting for clients accused of vehicular manslaughter in Central Ohio

If a driver kills someone with his/her car, the driver can be charged with three different types of criminal offenses: aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide, or vehicular manslaughter. Each charge is defined differently. The penalties, including length of imprisonment, vary for each type of charge. What is the same in all three cases is that you need a criminal defense lawyer on your side – and fast.

At Soroka & Associates, LLC, our Columbus vehicular homicide lawyers understand that accidents happen. If you, or someone you love or represent, has been charged with vehicular homicide, you need experienced criminal defense lawyers who fight to show that a death by a car accident is tragic enough for the victim. The tragedy shouldn’t be compounded by convicting someone who should remain free.

How can we help?

What is the definition of aggravated vehicular homicide in Columbus?

Under Section 2903.06 of the Ohio Revised Code, a person can be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide if he or she, “while operating or participating in the operation of a motor vehicle, motorcycle, snowmobile, locomotive, watercraft, or aircraft, shall cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy” does so by operating said vehicle recklessly, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or being reckless in a construction zone.

A driver can also be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide if he or she was previously convicted or, or pleaded guilty to:

  1. The same crime
  2. Any traffic-related homicide, manslaughter, or assault offense
  3. Three or more prior violations of driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  4. Three or more prior violations of unsafe operation of an aircraft
  5. Three or more prior violations of aggravated vehicular assault or vehicular assault
  6. Three or more prior violations of involuntary manslaughter
  7. Three or more violations of a combination of the offenses listed here
  8. A second or subsequent felony violation of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

The sentences for aggravated vehicular homicide vary depending on the underlying cause of the offense:

  • Driving under the influence. If the driver operated the vehicle while driving under the influence, aggravated vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony. The sentence for a second-degree felony is 2 to 8 years. The driver’s license of the defendant will be suspended for life. The offense will be a first degree felony if the defendant drove without a license or on a suspended license, or the defendant has a prior conviction for vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, or vehicular assault. The offense may result in even more severe sentences depending on additional factors such as three or more convictions for vehicular homicide.
  • Driving recklessly or driving recklessly in a construction zone. Under these circumstances, aggravated vehicular homicide is a third-degree felony. The offense may be upgraded to a second-degree felony if the defendant drove without a license, drove on a suspended license, or had a prior conviction for certain crimes. Imprisonment may be mandatory in some cases. The driver’s license may be suspended for life based on the driver’s prior criminal record.

What is the definition of vehicular homicide in Columbus?

Vehicular homicide, under the same part of the code, occurs when a person operates a vehicle negligently or speeds through a construction zone, and it results in another person’s death or in the unlawful termination of a pregnancy.

The sentence for vehicular homicide also depends on how the offense happened and the defendant’s prior criminal record.

In Ohio, vehicular homicide due to negligence is a first-degree misdemeanor. A conviction can result in up to six months in prison and loss of driving privileges for up to five years. A conviction for vehicular homicide based on speeding in a construction zone is also a first-degree misdemeanor with the same possibility of a six month maximum sentence and loss of driving privileges for up to five years. In addition, there is a mandatory incarceration of 15 days.

Vehicular homicide can be elevated to a fourth-degree felony depending on the defendant’s prior record, and whether the driver didn’t have a license or was driving on a suspended license. The license suspension can increase substantially if the defendant has a prior conviction for certain prior offenses such as a traffic-related homicide, manslaughter, felonious assault, or assault.

What is the definition of vehicular manslaughter in Columbus?

Vehicular manslaughter – again, under the same code – requires proving that a driver caused the death of another person “as the proximate result of committing a minor misdemeanor traffic offense.”

Like the other vehicle offenses that result in death, the sentence and fine depend on additional factors.

In Ohio, vehicular manslaughter is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in prison and a loss of driving privileges/suspension of license for up to three years. The offense can be upgraded to a first-degree misdemeanor depending on the defendant’s prior record, or whether the driver was driving with a suspended license or without a license.

What defenses do your lawyers assert in vehicular homicide cases?

At Soroka & Associates, our Columbus vehicular homicide lawyers assert all your Constitutional, legal, and factual offenses. We work to:

  • Suppress any evidence that was illegally obtained.
  • Show that the prosecution cannot prove that a driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident, was not driving through a construction zone, or was not violating any traffic laws.
  • Show that the death of the victim was not proximately caused by any acts of the defendant. For example, a victim may have been jaywalking at the time of the accident – his/her own negligence caused the accident.
  • Negotiate plea bargains to non-homicide and non-manslaughter charges.
  • Assert all other defenses that apply depending on the facts of the case.

Do you have a vehicular homicide lawyer near me?

The Columbus office of Soroka & Associates is located at 503 South Front Street, Suite 205. Our office is conveniently located near I-71 and Rt. 23. We do see criminal defendants in prison if they have not been released on bail.

Speak with our seasoned Columbus vehicular manslaughter attorneys today

It is important to speak with a lawyer as quickly as possible after an arrest for any criminal charge including aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide, or vehicular manslaughter. At Soroka & Associates, our Columbus criminal defense lawyers fight aggressively for our clients at every stage of the criminal process from the arrest, bail hearings, and other initial hearing through plea bargain negotiations, jury trials, and appeals. We guide defendants through each stage of the litigation process. To speak with us, call us at 614-358-6525 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.