Colorado Vehicular Homicide charges are extremely serious. Like murder cases, DUI-related Vehicular Homicide cases are among the most aggressively prosecuted cases. Vehicular Homicide cases are very emotional and often involve the death of a passenger in the vehicle, who may be a family member or friend. Persons accused of vehicular homicide often report feeling a tremendous amount of guilt and remorse over a fatal accident. Although valid, this warranted sentiment does not alleviate the necessity of retaining a qualified DUI defense team to fight to protect your rights and make sure you receive the best possible outcome in your Vehicular Homicide case.
The crime of Vehicular Homicide is defined by Colorado Revised Statute 18-3-106. This law makes it a felony for a driver to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs or in a reckless manner and cause the death of another.
The definitions and sentences for Colorado Vehicular Homicide are as follows:
Vehicular Homicide – Class 3 Felony: The defendant unlawfully drove or operated a motor vehicle in Colorado while under the influence by alcohol, or drugs, or both alcohol and drugs, and the conduct was the proximate cause of death to another, in violation of 18-1-306(1)(a), C.R.S.
Sentencing Range for Vehicular Homicide – Class 3 Felony: 4-12 years in prison is the presumptive range; up to 24 years if a judge finds extraordinary aggravating circumstances.
Vehicular Homicide – Class 4 Felony: The defendant unlawfully drove or operated a motor vehicle in Colorado in a reckless manner, and the conduct was the proximate cause of death to another person, in violation of 18-1-305(1)(a), C.R.S.
Sentencing Range for Vehicular Homicide – Class 4 Felony: 2-6 years in prison is the presumptive range; up to 12 years if a judge finds extraordinary aggravating circumstances.
If there was more than one fatality from the DUI accident, additional felony Vehicular Homicide charges will be filed. In addition to the Vehicular Homicide charge, other criminal or traffic charges may be filed against you.
There are several differences in Colorado between a DUI charge and a Vehicular Homicide charge. Some of those differences are as follows:
There is currently no felony DUI in Colorado, regardless of how many prior alcohol-related offenses you may have. Vehicular Homicide, however, is a felony even for a first time offender. If you have been charged with Vehicular Homicide in Colorado, it is almost certain that the prosecutor will seek a long prison sentence due to the death of the alleged victim and the media exposure that can follow a Vehicular Homicide case.
Colorado law allows a police officer to physically restrain a driver and obtain a forced blood draw if the officer has probable cause to believe the driver committed Vehicular Homicide. Therefore, unlike a DUI, a police officer is not required to ask the driver to submit to a blood test when the officer has a legal basis to believe the driver committed a felony Vehicular Homicide.
Vehicular Homicide is considered a “victim’s rights crime” under Colorado law, which means the prosecutor is required to communicate any potential plea bargain offers to the alleged victim’s family and seek the family’s input into any plea bargain or sentencing stipulations before making you and your DUI defense team an offer. Therefore, negotiating a fair disposition in your Vehicular Homicide case can be difficult because of the anger and resentment the alleged victim’s family has over the accident.
Most evidence in these cases is collected at the scene of the accident, so it is imperative that you consult with a DUI defense attorney immediately so that the attorney can begin investigating the case immediately. A DUI defense attorney can help advise about the best legal strategy in your based on whether an arrest has occurred and charges have been filed. An attempt may be made to negotiate with the prosecutor before the media and the alleged victim’s family has an opportunity to influence the case in a negative fashion.
If you have been charged with Vehicular Homicide in Colorado, the experienced DUI defense attorneys at Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. can achieve the best result possible in your case. Led by top-rated DUI defense attorney Jay Tiftickjian, Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. has achieved excellent results for clients charged with Vehicular Homicide and other serious offenses due to an accident involving a DUI or reckless driving. If you have been charged with Vehicular Homicide in Colorado, call Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. at (303) DUI-5280 or contact us through this website to speak with Mr. Tiftickjian or a member of his experienced DUI defense team.