If you have been accused of vehicular homicide in Colorado Springs, you might be unsure what to do next. These are serious charges that can have life-altering consequences if found guilty. However, you do not need to face this challenging time alone.
Contact our office today to speak to one of our Colorado Springs vehicular homicide defense lawyers during a free initial consultation. At Peakstone Law Group, LLC, we are standing by to help you fight for your liberty and your future.
What Is Vehicular Homicide?
According to Colorado law, a person commits vehicular homicide under any of these circumstances:
- Driving a motor vehicle recklessly and, in doing so, contributing to the death of another person.
- Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both, and this behavior results in the death of another person.
- Driving a motor vehicle while impaired to any degree by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, and their actions result in another person’s death.
Defining Key Terms
In this context, “driving under the influence” means driving while affected by alcohol, drugs, or both so that the driver is substantially incapable of exercising clear judgment, maintaining adequate physical control of the vehicle, or operating the vehicle safely. “Driving while ability impaired” means driving while the ability to operate a vehicle safely is affected even to the slightest degree by drugs, alcohol, or both.
Vehicular homicide is prosecuted under a theory of strict liability in Colorado when the driver is under the influence or their ability to drive is impaired by alcohol or drugs to any degree. Strict liability means a person charged with a crime is liable regardless of their intent or mental state. Prosecutors do not have to prove intent as they would for vehicular homicide cases based on recklessness.
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) and Drug Thresholds
Proof of the quantity of alcohol or drugs in a driver’s system is crucial to many vehicular homicide cases. The law defines certain thresholds for blood alcohol levels and delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the system for vehicular homicide charges. If a driver tests positive for alcohol or active THC above the following thresholds, prosecutors and courts can make certain assumptions about the driver’s impairment:
- A BAC of 0.05 percent or less usually suggests that the driver wasn’t under the influence.
- A BAC above 0.05 but below 0.08 or a THC blood concentration of 5 nanograms or more indicates impairment.
- A BAC of 0.08 or more leads to a permissible inference that the driver was under the influence.
In a legal context, “permissible inference” allows a conclusion to be drawn from specific evidence. A defense lawyer can present evidence to counter these adverse inferences or presumptions.
Consequences of Vehicular Homicide
In Colorado, vehicular homicide can be charged as a Class 3 or Class 4 felony, depending on the circumstances.
If a defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, resulting in the death of another person, it’s usually prosecuted as a Class 3 felony, punishable by:
- 4 to 12 years in prison
- 5 years of mandatory parole
- Between $3,000 and $750,000 in fines
Class 4 vehicular homicide charges usually apply if a defendant was driving recklessly or their ability to drive was impaired to any degree by alcohol or drugs, resulting in the death of another person. Penalties for Class 4 felonies in Colorado can include the following:
- 2 to 6 years in prison
- 3 years of mandatory parole
- Between $2,000 and $500,000 in fines
Potential Defenses in Vehicular Homicide Cases
Every case is unique, but possible defense strategies for vehicular homicide cases include the following:
- Challenging the evidence – This could involve disputing the accuracy of blood or breath tests, questioning testing procedures, or identifying inconsistencies in evidence handling or storage, for example.
- Questioning the arrest procedures – Did the police conduct themselves properly during the arrest? Were your rights fully respected? If not, this could form the basis of a strong defense.
- Analyzing the accident scene – A thorough investigation could uncover contributing factors like road conditions or third-party involvement that could shift the blame away from you.
- Disputing recklessness – Vehicular homicide charges often rely on proving recklessness. With the proper evidence, we can challenge such assertions to poke holes in the prosecution’s case.
Why You Need a Vehicular Homicide Defense Lawyer
With the weight of the law seemingly against you, the dedicated representation of a skilled vehicular homicide defense lawyer can be instrumental as you fight for your rights. At Peakstone Law Group, LLC, our vehicular homicide defense lawyers can provide valuable assistance in numerous ways, such as:
- Building a robust defense strategy for you
- Challenging the accuracy of blood or breath toxicity tests
- Questioning the procedures or conduct of arresting officers
- Investigating and analyzing the accident scene
- Disputing allegations of reckless behavior
- Mitigating potential penalties through negotiation with prosecutors
- Communicating with law enforcement and court officials for you
- Preparing you for court appearances and trials
- Reviewing and explaining legal documents and proceedings
Choosing the Right Vehicular Homicide Lawyer
Your freedom, rights, and reputation matter. You need a seasoned vehicular homicide lawyer to defend them. That is where Peakstone Law Group, LLC, comes in.
We provide tireless dedication to our clients. Our team is available 24/7 through text, chat, or phone, and we offer valuable resources like text reminders of court dates and interactive client portals, so help is never more than a call or tap away. We understand what you’re up against, and we are here to make your experience as smooth as possible. Choose Peakstone Law Group, LLC, to protect your liberty and your future.
Contact Our Colorado Springs Vehicular Homicide Defense Lawyers Today
Do not wait to secure the defense you deserve. If you are facing vehicular homicide charges in Colorado Springs, contact Peakstone Law Group, LLC, today. Start with a free, confidential consultation where we can listen to your story and outline a strong defense strategy tailored to your circumstances.