One serious motor vehicle violation is negligent homicide with a motor vehicle. If charged with this crime, it is important to understand the law. This can help defend yourself against this accusation. For more information on negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, read on.
A conviction of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle is complicated. For a conviction, the prosecution must prove:
- That the death of a person occurred.
- That negligent operation of a motor vehicle occurred.
- That the negligent operation of a motor vehicle caused the death of a person.
The first element is fairly straightforward. The prosecution will have to prove that a person died. Confirmation can come from death records.
To prove the second element, the prosecution has to prove several things. First, the prosecution has to prove that the defendant was operating the motor vehicle. Next, the prosecution has to prove that the motor vehicle was operated in a negligent way. Negligence is defined as a violation of a legal duty. One person owes another person reasonable safety and care in many driving situations. The prosecution must also prove that the defendant owed the victim reasonable care and safety.
In some cases, negligence occurs, but it is not intentional. The prosecution must prove that the defendant knew of the risk involved. They also have to prove that the defendant chose to engage in the negligent behavior anyway. This element can be difficult to prove. Understanding a person’s intention is not always straightforward.
The prosecution must link the defendant’s negligence to the death of the victim. This will prove the third element. The prosecution has to prove proximate cause beyond a reasonable doubt. Proximate cause is not always the same thing as the immediate cause of death. Any act can constitute proximate cause if it materially and substantially contributes to the death of another person. An omission of an act can also constitute proximate cause. The prosecution must prove death would not have occurred if the defendant did not act as he or she did.
Negligence by the victim does not exonerate the defendant in this case. This is because the actions of the victim do not take away the defendant’s duty to provide reasonable care and drive safely.
Negligent homicide with a motor vehicle carries serious fines and jail time. Also, you could have points assessed against your driver’s license. The Department of Motor Vehicles could assess 5 points from your license.
There are defenses that can be made for negligent homicide with a motor vehicle case. You can try to prove that you did not have a duty of care toward the victim. Also, you could argue that your actions are not a proximate cause of death. To explore these defenses and others in greater detail, contact my office at 203-567-6474.