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Minneapolis Criminal Lawyers Understand Defenses for Vehicular Homicide

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2015 | Firm News |

Minneapolis criminal defense lawyers are experts at uncovering “mitigating circumstances” if you’ve been accused of vehicular homicide, a criminal act which is described in Minnesota statute 609.2112.  A person found guilty may receive a fine of up to $20,000, and/or prison time up to 10 years.  Vehicular homicide is such a serious offense because those truly guilty have “caused the death(s) of human beings (not murder or manslaughter) as a result of operating motor vehicles.”

Specific circumstances, though, are added to this definition to make it complete.  A charge of vehicular homicide imagines you’ve been driving:

  • in a “grossly negligent” way, such as weaving, texting or fighting with a passenger, or
  • in a “negligent manner” while you’ve been imbibing “alcohol, controlled substances, or both,” and your blood alcohol content at the scene of the death, or “measured within 2 hours” of the scene, is “.08 or more,” or
  • in a “negligent manner while knowingly” being impaired by a “hazardous substance,” or
  • in a “negligent manner” while carrying within your body “any amount” of a substance which is listed in 21 U.S. Code 812–Schedules of Controlled Substances I and II–not including marijuana or tetrahydrocannobinols, which are the main, active ingredients of cannabis, or
  • away from the scene of a deadly accident, which you caused–which is a violation of part of the Minnesota statute 169.09, or
  • while knowing that a “peace officer” had previously given a ticket (or warning) declaring your vehicle was/is “defectively maintained,” or
  • while knowing that no “remedial action”(no repairs) was taken regarding your vehicle’s defects, or
  • while knowing–or “having reason to know”–that these unrepaired vehicle defects could cause “a present danger to others,” or
  • while knowing–or “having reason to know”–that this “present danger” in the form of unrepaired vehicle defects actually caused another’s death.

This Minnesota law covering vehicular homicide assumes you understand that “controlled substances” within 21 U.S. Code 812, Schedules I and II, include such mind-altering and behavior controlling drugs as the opium derivatives codeine and heroin, the opiates fentanyl and methadone, hallucinogens like LSD and mescaline, and methamphetamine stimulants.

The law also assumes you understand–as per Minnesota statute 169.09–that these are the exact steps you must take upon becoming involved in a collision that results in death(s).:

  • Stop as close to the scene as is safe, and without “obstructing traffic,”
  • “Reasonably investigate” who, or what, was hit,
  • “Remain at the scene” at least until you’ve “give information” to a peace officer, if you realize–or “have reason to know”–the car crash “resulted in injury or death of another.”

Based on your having passed the exams to legally receive a Minnesota driver’s license, the law presupposes you understand you must provide a peace officer at the scene of a collision involving yourself and another’s death your name, address, date of birth, vehicle registration and plate numbers, and your license.

You will not automatically be judged “guilty,” however, even if you believe you have fulfilled the above requirements for vehicular homicide. Perhaps–when you caused a deadly accident–you were taking a Schedule I or II medication prescribed by your doctor, and you did not fully comprehend the risks. Perhaps you were fighting for your life against an adversarial passenger, even though you were behind the wheel when your vehicle caused a death.

Contact us if you have been charged with vehicular homicide in Minnesota. We will work diligently to discover all of your applicable defenses.