Vehicular Manslaughter Attorney 2015-08-07T17:39:38+00:00

New York Vehicular Manslaughter Attorney

New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) has introduced a bill to increase penalties for drivers convicted of vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated. Senator Stavisky’s bill would automatically revoke the convicted driver’s license for six months and then require a follow up one-year probationary period to have the license reinstated.

Vehicular Manslaughter is a serious charge in New York. There are three Vehicular Manslaughter charges under state law: Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree, and Aggravated Vehicular Manslaughter. Upon conviction for any of these charges, a driver will face steep fines and State Prison time, even under the current law.

Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree applies to drivers who violate  section 1192 of New York’s Vehicle and traffic Law (except for a DWAI), and as a result of such intoxication/impairment, cause the death of another. The penalties upon conviction for this crime include up to seven years in state prison, five years of probation, and fines ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. The elevated charge of Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree requires that the drivers have committed Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree as described above, and that one of the following factors is also present:

  • BAC of .18 or above;
  • A suspension for an alcohol-related offense in New York or any other jurisdiction;
  • A conviction of an alcohol-related offense (including DWAI) within the past 10 years;
  • A conviction for Vehicular Assault, Vehicular Manslaughter, or Vehicular Homicide in New York or any other jurisdiction
  • Causes the death of more than one person; or
  • A child 15 years or younger is in the vehicle as a passenger and the accident causes the death of the child.

Because Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree is a more serious charge, the penalties are even harsher and include up to 15 years in State Prison, five years of probation, and fines of up to $15,000.

An Aggravated Vehicular Manslaughter charge is brought against any driver who is guilty of Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree as defined above, with one of the following present:

  • BAC of 0.18% or above;
  • A suspension for an alcohol-related offense in New York or any other jurisdiction;
  • A conviction of an alcohol-related offense within the past 10 years;
  • A conviction for Vehicular Assault, Vehicular Manslaughter, or Vehicular Homicide in New York or any other jurisdiction;
  • Causes the death of more than one person;
  • Causes the death of one person and the serious physical injury of at least one other person; or
  • Commits  Vehicular Manslaughter with a child under the age of 16 years in the vehicle as a passenger, and causes the death of the child passenger.

Motorists convicted of Aggravated Vehicular Manslaughter face penalties of prison terms up to 25 years.

In June 2014, the New York Senate passed Sen. Stavisky’s bill, which is now being considered by the Assembly. This proposal would expand the 2005 law requiring that any intoxicated driver who killed or seriously injured another person would be guilty of Vehicular Manslaughter or Vehicular Assault.

Vehicular Manslaughter Conviction Puts NY Man in Prison

Gary Hendricks of Long Island was recently sentenced after being convicted of a DWI, vehicular assault, and vehicular manslaughter, among other charges. Hendricks was arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) after a serious crash in July 2013. After rear-ending another vehicle, Hendricks’ SUV swerved onto the shoulder and onto an embankment, flipping the SUV over multiple times. Hendricks’s grandfather, Isaac Beal, was killed during the crash after being ejected from the vehicle. Other passengers were injured, but survived. According to police investigation and court records, Hendricks was driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.17 percent. The legal limit in New York is 0.08 percent. In October 2013, Hendricks plead guilty as part of plea deal. He has been sentenced to four to eight years in prison.

Vehicular manslaughter is a serious charge in New York. If an intoxicated driver causes the death of another person due to their drunk driving, the driver can be charged with second-degree vehicular manslaughter. Both first-degree and second-degree vehicular manslaughter are felony charges, which can lead to prison sentences. The penalties for second-degree vehicular manslaughter include a prison sentence up to seven years, five years of probation, and a fine between $2,000 and $10,000.

First-degree vehicular manslaughter means that the driver is guilty of at least one of the following:

  • Having a BAC level of at least 0.18 percent;
  • License suspension for any alcohol related offense;
  • A conviction for an alcohol related offense in the past ten years;
  • A conviction for vehicular assault, vehicular manslaughter, or vehicular homicide in New York or any other jurisdiction;
  • His/her intoxication caused the death of another person;
  • Committed vehicular manslaughter with a child 15 years or younger in the vehicle as a passenger, and caused the death of that child.

The penalties for first-degree vehicular manslaughter includes up to 15 years imprisonment, five years of probation, and a fine up to $15,000.

Vehicular assault is similar to vehicular manslaughter, but only requires that the driver’s intoxication caused serious physical injury to a passenger, not death. Similar to vehicular manslaughter, both second-degree and first-degree vehicular assault are felony charges. A conviction can result in several years in a state prison, and upwards of $10,000 in fines.

In Gary Hendricks’s case, he was convicted of both vehicular assault and vehicular manslaughter because one passenger was killed and another seriously injured due to his intoxication.

Citizen’s Push for Harsher Vehicular Manslaughter Penalties

A New York man is calling on state lawmakers to increase penalties for drivers convicted of vehicular manslaughter. The man tragically lost his daughter in 2012 to a drunk driving accident. The man’s daughter was walking on a bike path when a drunk motorcyclist ran her down, killing her. She was 25 years old. That accident also claimed the life of another pedestrian and caused serious injury to a third. The motorcycle rider was convicted of vehicular manslaughter, and sentenced to between four and twelve years in state prison. The rider also had six DWI convictions; four of those convictions happened in New York State.

New York carries three separate Vehicular Manslaughter charges: Second Degree Vehicular Manslaughter, First Degree, and Aggravated. Second Degree Vehicular Manslaughter means that a motorist committed an alcohol-related driving offense (with the exception of a DWAI) and their intoxication/impairment caused the death of another. First Degree is an elevated offense where a motorist committed Second Degree Vehicular Manslaughter and at least one of the following:

  • A BAC of 0.18% or above;
  • A suspension for an alcohol related offense in New York or any other jurisdiction;
  • A conviction of an alcohol related offense within the past 10 years;
  • A conviction for Vehicular Assault, Vehicular Manslaughter, or Vehicular Homicide in New York or any other jurisdiction;
  • Causes the death of more than one person;
  • Causes the death of one person and the serious physical injury of at least one other person; or
  • Commits the Vehicular Manslaughter with a child under the age of 16 years in the vehicle as a passenger, and causes the death of the child passenger.

Aggravated Vehicular Manslaughter applies to motorists who commit Reckless Driving and First Degree Vehicular Manslaughter. Each of these three charges is a very serious offense and could result in a prison term for a convicted driver.

In this case, the decedent’s father is glad the drunk driver is now sitting behind bars, but is unhappy about what he considers the light sentence given the man’s DWI history. The father is now calling on the state legislature to change the charging and sentencing guidelines for vehicular manslaughter if the convicted driver has prior DWIs. Knowing about the motorcyclist’s prior DWI convictions has made the whole tragedy even harder for the father. He stated about the prior convictions, “I would go to my grave . . . before I ever forgive [the rider], because he knew, he knew he was wrong, he’s had priors.”

For the past several months, the deceased’s father and his wife have been trying to convince a State Assemblyman to sponsor a bill that would increase the charge of vehicular manslaughter to aggravated vehicular homicide for drivers with at least three prior DWI convictions. If passed, the proposed law would potentially increase a convicted driver’s prison term by up to 10 years if he or she were charged with aggravated vehicular homicide. State Assemblyman John Ceretto now wants to work with the parents and sponsor Jocelyn’s Law to increase vehicular manslaughter charges and penalties for drivers with prior DWI convictions.

DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem.  Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 269 W. Jefferson St.; Syracuse, New York 13202; Telephone No.: (315) 473-0899.  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.  Attorney Advertising.