Las Vegas DUI - Vehicular Homicide: What Can Happen To Me?
Las Vegas's Vehicular Homicide charge is the most serious DUI charge. It is a Category A - the most severe felony category in Nevada - and can carry a life sentence. If you are charged with vehicular homicide, you should immediately contact the Goodwin Law Group, PLLC. A Nevada DUI attorney like Charles Goodwin will be necessary. These cases are serious, and getting an attorney involved sooner rather than later can help your chances of success.
A TL;DR on the penalties for a Las Vegas Vehicular Homicide charge:
In Las Vegas, Vehicular Homicide is a Category A Felony. Prison time is mandatory and can either be a minimum sentence of ten years in prison to life (parole-eligible) or a minimum prison sentence of ten years to a maximum of twenty-five years. A judge must also order a breath interlock device for a minimum of twelve and a maximum of thirty-six months and attend a victim impact panel. Additionally, the DMV will revoke the driver's license for three years.
Las Vegas DUI - Vehicular Homicide Elements
A conviction for Vehicular Homicide in Las Vegas requires proving several elements. The statute, NRS 484C.130 states:
1. A person commits vehicular homicide if the person:
(a) Drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle on or off the highways of this State and:
(1) Is under the influence of intoxicating liquor;
(2) Has a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath;
(3) Is found by measurement within 2 hours after driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath;
(4) Is under the influence of a controlled substance or is under the combined influence of intoxicating liquor and a controlled substance;
(5) Inhales, ingests, applies or otherwise uses any chemical, poison or organic solvent, or any compound or combination of any of these, to a degree which renders the person incapable of safely driving or exercising actual physical control of a vehicle; or
(6) Has a prohibited substance in his or her blood or urine, as applicable, in an amount that is equal to or greater than the amount set forth in subsection 3 or 4 of NRS 484C.110;
(b) Proximately causes the death of another person while driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle on or off the highways of this State; and
(c) Has previously been convicted of at least three offenses.
For the Las Vegas to secure a conviction for Vehicular Homicide, it must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Standard DUI: The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was either too impaired to drive or was above the legal limit for alcohol within two hours of actual physical control or over the limit for drugs.
- Proximate Cause of Death: The State must prove that the driver caused the death of the individual. It must be a death that is a DIRECT result of the collision.
- Prior DUIs: The prosecutor must also prove that the driver had at least three prior DUIs.
For element three, the prior DUIs, it's important to note the following:
- The prior DUIs are NOT time-barred. Having four DUIs spaced over twenty years and never getting a DUI Third does not matter. What matters are three prior DUI convictions.
- Felony DUI convictions count as well. A DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm and two other DUIs trigger this statute.
- Convictions from other states count towards the three. As long as the elements for a DUI in the other states are similar to Nevada's, then it WILL count against you!
In Las Vegas, Vehicular Homicide requires all three elements of the crime to be proven to a jury. Unlike a DUI Third Offense or Subsequent Offense, the previous DUIs are not required to be proven at sentencing. They will be proven at the trial. Additionally, unlike the DUI with substantial bodily harm or death where there must be some act or neglect of duty while driving, this statute only requires the PROXIMATE cause of death.
Las Vegas DUI - Vehicular Homicide Penalties
In Las Vegas, a conviction of vehicular homicide carries the following penalties:
- Prison Sentence: Nevada's DUI for Vehicular Homicide is a Category A felony with two potential prison sentences: First, for a minimum of ten years and a maximum of life with the possibility of parole; second, for a minimum of ten years and a maximum of twenty years.
- Victim Impact Panel: Every DUI conviction in the State of Nevada requires attendance at a victim impact panel.
- Breath Interlock Device: The Court will mandate a Breath Interlock Device for at least 12 months but not more than 36 months.
- License Revocation: The DMV will revoke the license for three years. This time does not begin to count until AFTER the prison sentence has been served.
A Category A felony is Nevada's most serious felony. The prison sentence attached to it reflects that. Additionally, the prosecutor is barred from offering a reduction in contemplation of a plea. Probation is prohibited.
A DUI Lawyer is Necessary
Whenever the issue of penalties comes up, a DUI Lawyer is necessary. Charles Goodwin, a Las Vegas DUI Defense Lawyer, can help. Here's why:
- Complexity: There is a lot of variation on DUI First penalties in Nevada and Las Vegas. Charles Goodwin knows how to navigate these complex issues to ensure that if you have a DUI, the penalties stay at the minimum sometimes regardless of BAC!
- Knowledge: lawyers not trained to handle DUIs will often recommend that you accept whatever the prosecutor offers - which is generally harsher than required. This is because the prosecutor is often much more knowledgeable about DUIs than the untrained lawyer. Don't let that be you! DUI Attorney Charles Goodwin understands DUIs and can help.
- Experience: Many lawyers who do not handle DUIs regularly may be unaware of the new requirements under the law, including breath interlock requirements being run concurrently, no more per se marijuana DUIs, and more. DUI Defense lawyer Charles Goodwin has resolved hundreds of DUIs, is a member of the National College of DUI Defense and has practiced in all courts in Southern Nevada. He can help you.
Contact Charles Goodwin at Goodwin Law Group, PLLC today. He has the knowledge and experience to navigate your DUI offense's complexity and help you decide how to proceed when you face a DUI for Vehicular Homicide in Las Vegas. Don't chance your future. Call today for your free consultation!