Drunk Driver Faces Homicide Charges

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

In March 2009, a grisly accident near the Empire State Building led to serious alcohol-related charges against a motorist.

Shortly after 3 p.m., the man and a companion were riding through midtown Manhattan after leaving a bar. The driver was apparently veering toward the curb so his friend could yell out to women. The car went out of control just as two women were exiting a building. It sped up, jumped the curb, and ran the two over, killing one and injuring the other. The dead woman, pinned under the car, was pregnant.

The incident is a graphic reminder that DWI, a misdemeanor, can also involve more serious crimes, for which convicted drivers may be subject to severe penalties. Other offenses may include:

  • Vehicular homicide (also called vehicular manslaughter) is a class D felony in New York, carrying fines up to $100,000 and a jail term up to 25 years. It generally involves a death resulting from the reckless operation of a vehicle;
  • Vehicular assault, is a class D or E felony, with lesser penalties. It usually involves a serious injury resulting from the negligent operation of a vehicle;
  • Reckless disregard for the safety of others, also known as reckless endangerment, refers to any activity that could result in the death or injury of other people;
  • Hit and run, or leaving the scene of an accident where someone is injured, is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000;
  • Criminal negligence arises primarily from the operation of a motor vehicle by a driver under the influence of drugs, narcotics, or alcohol. A conviction carries a fine, imprisonment, or both, because the offense is classified as criminal;
  • Criminally negligent homicide is charged when an innocent party dies as a result of a driver's alcohol- or drug-related behavior. The maximum penalty for this Class E felony is four years in prison.

If you are involved in an incident involving driving and drugs or alcohol, consult a criminal defense lawyer with experience in defending vehicular homicide and assault charges.