It was something you had done a hundred times before. You sent a quick text and took your eyes off the road for just a second. That second was all it took to collide with the vehicle that had suddenly stopped in front of you.
You were lucky. Your injuries were minor. The other driver was not so lucky and she eventually succumbed to her injuries and died in the hospital. The police have now charged you with vehicular manslaughter.
In Indiana, vehicular manslaughter charges fall under the umbrella of involuntary manslaughter laws. In fact, one of the most common ways that an involuntary manslaughter charge can arise is through vehicular homicide. You should not try to deal with this type of charge on your own. In order to mount a proper defense, contact a local Indianapolis attorney experienced with vehicular homicide cases.
Continue reading for basic information on involuntary manslaughter charges in Indiana.
What is involuntary manslaughter?
Involuntary manslaughter occurs when an accident results in a death. This is less than a murder charge or a voluntary manslaughter charge because there was no intention to cause someone to die. Since the death is the result of reckless or negligent action, the court will enact some form of punishment if the court convicts you.
In Indiana, the court can find you guilty of involuntary manslaughter if you kill someone because you were texting and driving.
What are the civil penalties?
If the court rules that you are not guilty in criminal court, the victim’s family can still bring your case before a judge in civil court. A lawsuit for wrongful death in the civil court requires a lower burden of proof, which means that the civil court can find you liable.
What are the criminal penalties?
If the criminal court convicts you, you could be facing one to six years of incarceration. Furthermore, you may have to pay fines up to $10,000.
You may also be facing suspended driving privileges for two to five years, depending on the court’s recommendation.
If the court has charged you with vehicular homicide in Indiana, it is important to understand the charges you are facing as you prepare your defense. An Indiana criminal lawyer can advise you on the state’s laws and act as your advocate during trial.