Vehicular Homicide Charge Facts

Vehicular Homicide Charge Facts

Vehicular Homicide Charge Facts
In order for an individual to be charged with vehicular homicide, the person must be shown to have acted with intent to use the vehicle to commit murder or otherwise injure another person. It is unlikely that a person who has no prior offenses for improperly handling a vehicle will be charged with vehicular homicide. 
Prior offenses which may result in charges being upgraded from vehicular manslaughter to vehicular homicide include prior convictions for driving under the influence, or if a person was intoxicated at the time of the crime under investigation. An individual charged with vehicular homicide may have killed a pedestrian, a cyclist, another motorist, or a passenger in their car or a car driven by another person.
Vehicular homicide is a special circumstance of negligent homicide. It is not governed by a specific portion of the Model Penal Code, which outlines most criminal laws in effect in the United States. Vehicular homicide laws have instead developed on a jurisdiction by jurisdiction basis. These laws have developed to allow prosecutors to consider motor vehicles as a special kind of weapon.
Not all jurisdictions have adopted laws which define vehicular homicide as a specific category of law. As a result, an offense that results in an individual being charged with vehicular homicide in one jurisdiction can result in charges under manslaughter or murder laws in another jurisdiction.
Iowa is one jurisdiction which recognizes vehicular homicide as a special circumstance of homicide. An individual charged with vehicular homicide in Iowa faces strict penalties. Vehicular homicide convictions in Iowa result in a mandatory twenty-five year sentence without the possibility of parole or the possibility of bail. 
A convict must also undergo a drunk driver’s course, provide $150,000 in restitution to the victim's family, a fine of between one and ten thousand dollars, as well as several fees, and have their license suspended for at least six years.
When juries are allowed discretion in sentencing for individuals charged with vehicular homicide, some studies find that defendants are given shorter sentences than individuals facing other homicide charges.




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