Craig Rosenbaum | February 22, 2023 | Car Accidents
Sadly, fatal car accidents are common occurrences in New York City. It’s an unfortunate experience for everyone involved, and it often brings up questions concerning criminal penalties. The law can be complex and intimidating regarding fatal car accidents in NYC. You may be wondering if you will go to jail and what other consequences you may face.
Civil Liability After a Fatal Car Accident
There is a difference between criminal and civil liability after a fatal car accident in NYC. Civil liability means that the driver responsible for causing the accident can be sued by the victim’s family or estate under wrongful death laws.
To win this type of lawsuit, it must be proven that the driver was negligent or careless when operating their vehicle, meaning that they failed to take necessary precautions while driving or disregarded safety regulations set forth by New York law. Depending on the situation, the victim’s family or estate may receive financial compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, pain and suffering, and more.
Criminal charges are usually not filed against the drivers responsible unless it can be proven that they acted recklessly or intentionally caused harm. Even then, these cases are uncommon, and prosecutors have to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver had an intention to hurt someone or was grossly negligent while operating their vehicle.
In most situations, drivers involved in fatal accidents will not face criminal charges, but this doesn’t mean it never happens.
Regarding fatal car accidents in NYC, local authorities such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may impose further administrative penalties. These penalties can include license suspension or revocation and fines.
So, When Would Criminal Charges Be Filed?
Vehicular manslaughter is a serious criminal charge with severe consequences. In New York, these charges can be brought against someone for causing another’s death while driving under the influence. It is essential to understand the details to prepare an effective defense and minimize the potential consequences of the charge.
Second Degree Vehicular Manslaughter
According to New York law, second-degree vehicular manslaughter is defined as causing the death of another person while you are driving a vehicle under various types of conditions. This charge is a Class D felony and can carry a maximum prison sentence of 7 years if found guilty.
Along with that, fines up to $5,000 can be imposed, and the individual’s license can be suspended or revoked.
Those convicted may have to serve at least one third of their sentence before they are eligible for parole.
First Degree Vehicular Manslaughter
Causing someone’s death while driving under the influence of alcohol with a BAC over 0.18% is considered first degree vehicular manslaughter in New York. This crime carries harsh penalties, including a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Fines of up to $5,000 can also be imposed, and the driver’s license can be suspended or revoked.
What You Can Do To Protect Yourself
Being served notice of a civil lawsuit or facing criminal charges following a fatal car accident is a serious matter that requires swift and decisive action. Potential liability resulting from the accident can range from steep fines to prison sentences, depending on the severity of the situation.
The first step is to contact an experienced attorney who specializes in handling cases involving fatal car accidents. They can help you build a strong defense strategy that takes into account all applicable state laws and help ensure your rights are protected throughout every stage of the legal process. Additionally, it is important to act quickly, as any delay could work against your chances of having the case favorably resolved.
If you need help after being involved in a fatal car accident, contact Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C., to schedule a free consultation.