Vehicular homicide occurs when reckless or negligent driving leads to the killing of another person. In Colorado, vehicular homicide can be a class 3 or 4 felony, depending on the circumstances of the crime. If you are charged with this crime, you will need a criminal defense attorney in Denver to handle your case. Here is a look at what you need to know about this criminal charge.
What is the difference between class 3 and class 4 charges?
Generally, vehicular homicide is considered to be a class 4 felony in Colorado when the driver operated the vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner. The charges are elevated to class 3 felony level if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident. If there were multiple deaths caused by the driver, there will be multiple charges of vehicular homicide filed at the same felony class level. A criminal defense attorney will typically try to get a class 3 felony charge reduced to a class 4 charge.
What are the potential consequences of a vehicular homicide charge?
For class 4 felony charges, the sentencing range is two to six years in prison. If the judge determines there were extraordinary maximum aggravating circumstances, then a maximum sentence of up to 12 years may be imposed. These circumstances can include things like the defendant being on parole or bond at the time of the crime. For a class 3 felony, the sentence is typically between four and 12 years, but can be up to 24 years with extraordinary aggravating factors.
What are some potential defenses for vehicular homicide?
Most defenses for vehicular homicide revolve around proving that the actions of the driver were not responsible for the death. In Colorado, vehicular homicide is a victim’s rights crime. This means that the family of the victim must approve any plea bargain that is negotiated between the prosecutor and criminal defense attorney.