If you or a loved one has been charged with Homicide by Vehicle, you must have a lot of questions and fears about what is going to happen. It is a truly horrible feeling knowing that someone died and that you are being held responsible for that death. Fortunately, The McShane Firm has helped many people who have faced these and similar charges and is ready to answer your questions and help protect you.
What exactly is Homicide by Vehicle?
The law on the books is Title 75 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses § 3732 which defines the charge as:
Any person who recklessly or with gross negligence causes the death of another person while engaged in the violation of any law of this Commonwealth or municipal ordinance applying to the operation or use of a vehicle or to the regulation of traffic
The statute is applied when a driver who is driving recklessly causes death whether that person is a driver in another vehicle, a pedestrian or a passenger in the vehicle of the driver who is being charged. A common example of this is if a driver is speeding and crashes into another vehicle with causes death. This is not applied to drivers who were under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, as that is covered under Section 3735: Homicide by Vehicle while DUI.
What are the Legal Penalties for Homicide by Vehicle?
If you are convicted of Homicide by Vehicle you will be found guilty of a felony of the third degree. This means:
- You may face up to 7 years of imprisonment.
- You could be fined up to $15,000.
The sentence can be increased to up to an additional 5 years if:
- The violation occurred in an active work zone.
- The driver was unlicensed or operating on a suspended or revoked license.
- The driver was guilty of texting while driving.
- The violation was related to an approaching emergency vehicle or was in an emergency response area.
What other Consequences could I be facing?
The consequences of a felony conviction in Pennsylvania are far reaching and can affect many facets of your life. Specifically for Homicide by Vehicle, you can expect to:
- Face civil liability because of the wrongful death.
- See your car insurance rates skyrocket, when and if you are finally able to drive.
- Your professional license can be suspended. Please see: Felony Conviction Consequences in Pennsylvania to see how this can affect you.
- Lose your ability to own a firearm.
- Lose eligibility for student loans.
- Face difficulties getting hired. If convicted, you will be labeled as a “Killer”. Who wants to hire a Killer? People who have been convicted of similar charges have faced difficulties finding a job. You would be disqualified from driving for Uber, Lyft and other rideshare companies.
What should I do now?
If you are reading this blog post, you are doing the right thing by researching and learning about the charges you are facing. Additionally, you should call (717) 690-8643 to talk to one of the experienced attorneys at The McShane Firm so we can guide you through this trying time. Getting the right information and the right help will help put you at ease.
The McShane Firm is Pennsylvania’s Premier DUI Firm. No one can match our experience, qualifications and drive to succeed. We understand that you are scared. Many of our clients felt the same way before talking to us. At the end of the process, they walked away feeling that we secured the best possible outcome for them.