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Vehicular Manslaughter in AZ: What you need to know

Whether you are facing a vehicular manslaughter charge or someone you love, the first thing you need to know is how Arizona defines the charge. Many people confuse manslaughter with second degree murder. It’s not. In fact, second degree murder involves different elements for a prosecutor to prove. To understand more about the difference between simple manslaughter and second degree murder, click here.

According to the state, vehicular manslaughter involves the killing of a person plus one of the following elements:

You recklessly caused the death of another human being
OR
You either knowingly or intentionally committed murder in the heat of passion or adequate provocation by the person killed

These elements are the very important because Arizona requires a prosecutor to use them to prove his or her case against you.

Generally, the prosecution uses the first element to try to prove its case because the car accident wasn’t committed in the heat of passion or provocation. The first element, recklessness, is still are hard element to prove. Recklessness is defined as having a conscious disregard for human life. According to Arizona law, your actions are compared to what a reasonable person would do in a similar situation. Thus, if you’re accused of speeding and causing a deadly accident, a prosecutor would claim a reasonable person wouldn’t have done that. However, your team of lawyers may counter the charge by attacking the accuracy and reliability of the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and speed devices used.

Another part of a recklessness definition is using unjustifiable risk that resulted in the particular circumstances that occurred. In other words, a reasonable person would have been caution to avoid the accident from happening. So the prosecutor is claiming that you knew you could cause an accident, but took the risk anyway.

Possible Defenses to Vehicular Manslaughter

The particular defense you use depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident and way your lawyer thinks. During your first consultation, you and your attorney may decide the best defense to present. It’s important that your defense lawyer has the expertise to fight a vehicular manslaughter case. To learn more about different attorneys who could handle your case, click here.

For many attorneys, the key to defending a vehicular manslaughter case is in the accident reconstruction. Thus, your attorney will reconstruct the scene of the accident to do more than provide a visual for the jury. It’s vital to show that the accident was the other person’s fault, whether he or she was the other driver or pedestrian. Another way to defend the case is by showing that your actions didn’t meet the state’s standard of recklessness. Also, it’s important to show that you did not take a substantial risk when you were driving.

Possible Sentence for Vehicular Manslaughter

If the crime is considered a Class 2, or non-dangerous felony, you could receive probation with no time in jail. You could also receive one year in jail or three to 1 and a half years in prison. If you have a prior conviction, your prison sentence could range from 4.5 to 23.25 years. If this is your third prior, then your prison sentence could range from 10.5 to 35 years.

The possible punishment for vehicular manslaughter is the worst case situation. Right now, your responsibility is focusing on obtaining the right attorney to help you resolve the case. We are here to assist you in trying your vehicular manslaughter case, reducing the charge or getting the charge dismissed. Contact us today.