Tragic Results: When Drunk Driving Kills
A New Jersey jury recently convicted a former actress from the popular 1990s show Melrose Place of vehicular homicide after she killed someone while driving drunk. Amy Locane had a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit. She first struck another vehicle in a fender-bender before getting back into her car and killing a 60-year old woman and seriously injuring the woman’s husband.
The human price of drunk driving is astronomical. Lives lost and destroyed, marriages torn asunder, a lifetime of guilt and stigma. How does New Jersey law categorize a death caused by a drunk driver?
Vehicular homicide in New Jersey is killing a person with a car or vessel while driving or operating it recklessly. Reckless driving includes driving under the influence of alcohol (that is, with a BAC of .08 or higher).
As a second-degree crime, vehicular homicide carries a penalty of $150,000 fine and a sentence of five to ten years in prison. The vehicular homicide law specifically imposes a minimum sentence of between three and five years during which the offender is not eligible for parole.
If, while driving drunk, someone kills another person while in a school zone, the level of offense rises to a first degree crime, carrying with it a prison term of 10 to 20 years.
If you are accused of vehicular homicide, it is crucial to put up a careful and aggressive defense to protect your rights. Please contact us to discuss your options.