DUI crashes are always a serious matter, but the stiffest penalties often apply to situations that result in a loss of life. If you are facing a DUI manslaughter charge in Las Vegas, you want to hire a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney promptly to protect your rights and fight the charges against you. In Nevada, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime, and vehicular manslaughter is a charge that could lead to life-changing consequences.
The legal team at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers can manage your DUI manslaughter defense in Las Vegas if you are facing charges in a fatal crash. We will review your situation, including the charge against you, and help you determine your next steps. You can reach out to us for a free consultation. The sooner we hear from you, the sooner we can start working for you.
How Nevada Defines Vehicular Manslaughter in DUI Accidents
Impaired drivers are largely held responsible for the harm they cause others, whether the victim was their passenger or someone outside the vehicle, such as a pedestrian or another motorist. In Nevada, the terms “vehicular manslaughter” and “vehicular homicide” apply to two different types of crimes. The key difference between them is one involves drug and/or alcohol use while the other does not.
Let’s start with the state’s definition of vehicular manslaughter. Nevada Revised Statutes § 484B.657 defines vehicular manslaughter as “a person who, while driving or in actual physical control of any vehicle on a highway or premises to which the public has access, proximately causes the death of another person through an act or omission that constitutes simple negligence….”
Examples of simple negligence while driving that could result in a traffic fatality include:
- Running a stop sign or red traffic signal
- Operating a vehicle over the posted speed
- Driving below a posted speed
- Texting while driving (which is illegal in Nevada)
- Driving carelessly through a school or construction zone
In Nevada, vehicular manslaughter is prosecuted as a misdemeanor crime. This means a person convicted of this charge can face a possible six-month jail sentence, fines of up to $1,000, and a one-year driver’s license suspension. A Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can help explore your defense options.
When ‘Vehicular Manslaughter’ Becomes ‘Vehicular Homicide’ in DUI Crashes
In Nevada, vehicular manslaughter becomes vehicular homicide, a felony, when it is determined that the motorist was driving while impaired before striking and killing the victim, per Nevada Revised Statutes (Section) 484C.130.
The law is clear about the conditions under which a person commits vehicular homicide. Among them are when the person:
- Is in actual physical control of the vehicle on or off a Nevada highway
- Is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both
- Has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher
Nevada law also states that a driver automatically commits vehicular homicide if they have three prior DUI charges when their current actions result in a fatal DUI accident.
Penalties in a Vehicular Homicide Case in Las Vegas
A vehicular homicide charge is a Category A felony, and there are two possible sentences if a person is convicted. In the first, a person can face at least 10 years in prison if they are convicted on this charge. The maximum they can face is life with the possibility of parole. In the second sentence, they could face a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years.
You will want to hire a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights.
Driving Under the Influence Is Illegal in Nevada
In Nevada, it is a crime to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, per the state’s DUI law code. These laws can be found under the title, “Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor or Controlled or Prohibited Substance,” in Chapters 484.379 through 484.3947.
A person is considered under the influence of alcohol if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is 0.08% or more within two hours of driving. This limit is lower for commercial drivers (0.04%) and drivers under age 21 (0.02%), the legal drinking age. Despite these limits, motorists who have any detectable amount of substances in their systems can be cited for DUI-related manslaughter in Las Vegas.
Generally, whether drugs or alcohol or both are involved, a person can be considered under the influence at any point substance use affects their ability to safely operate a vehicle.
Penalties in DUI Manslaughter Cases in Nevada
Under Nevada law, DUI manslaughter penalties likely will be steeper for people who have prior DUI convictions. You will want to tell your criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas if you have had any earlier DUI convictions.
First DUI Conviction
If the DUI manslaughter case is your first DUI conviction, you could:
- Spend time in jail for up to six months
- Face fines up to $1,000 (or community service is possible)
- Attend DUI school
- Have your driver’s license suspended for one year
If you are under 21 years old, the penalties will likely be different. An attorney can advise you on what that means for your case.
Second DUI Conviction (Within 7 Years)
Motorists who have been convicted for their second DUI in Nevada within seven years will face a misdemeanor and these penalties:
- Spend 10 days to six months in jail
- Pay fines from $750 up to $1,000 (or complete community service)
- Have their driver’s license suspended for one year
- Possibly have an alcohol or drug dependency evaluation
Third (or Subsequent) DUI Conviction Within 7 Years
A third DUI charge (and any after that) means the driver will be charged with a felony and face the following penalties:
- A year to six years in prison
- Fines from $2,000 to $5,000
- Suspended driver’s license for three years
If you have had past DUI arrests or convictions in Nevada or any state, it is important that you tell our legal team when we meet with you. The more information our DUI lawyer in Las Vegas has, the better we can advise you on your legal options.
Our Las Vegas Lawyer Will Fight Your DUI Manslaughter Charges
Penalties in a DUI crash, especially one that results in a fatality, can be tough, and your life will change if you are convicted on a vehicular homicide charge. You may not be able to live where you want or find the job you need because of your record. You can also have a hard time getting credit, and you could lose your driving privileges.
A Las Vegas DUI manslaughter defense lawyer from De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers has the experience and knowledge to navigate the complexities these cases present. When we meet with you privately, we will review with you how the accident happened from your perspective. We will listen to you and ask questions to understand what took place and how we can start building your defense. We may be able to get your charges reduced, dismissed, or dropped.
We Will Investigate and Ensure Your Side of the Story Is Heard
Our lawyers will review the evidence prosecutors have, such as:
- Field sobriety test/chemical test results, such as a breathalyzer test
- Whether any drugs or open containers of alcohol were found in your vehicle
- Law enforcement’s official police report
- Witness statements
Some evidence submitted may or may not be admissible in court, and we will look for weaknesses in the prosecution’s argument. We will conduct a thorough investigation and look for evidence to determine:
- If your rights were violated in any way, such as if statements you made were recorded after your Vegas DUI crash without you being read your Miranda Rights
- If the evidence was obtained during an illegal search, a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights
- If the chemical test you took was given to you incorrectly
Our criminal defense attorneys in Las Vegas will thoroughly investigate your case, check the official police report, speak with witnesses, and review accident scene photos or traffic camera footage, among other things. After our investigation, we can start to develop a DUI manslaughter defense on your behalf.
Possible Defenses in a DUI Manslaughter Crash in Las Vegas
Our Las Vegas DUI lawyer will develop a defense that challenges the prosecution’s charges against you. Your defense will be unique to your case’s circumstances and details, but common defenses in these cases often arise, such as:
- You did not cause the accident (mistaken identity).
- You were not driving at the time of the accident.
- Law enforcement violated the rules concerning evidence and procedure.
- You were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.
- The chemical test instruments were defective or gave the wrong reading.
- You lost control of your vehicle for another reason that resulted in the accident, such as a sudden medical event or a medical condition you have.
- The other party caused the accident in some way, such as a pedestrian who crossed the street illegally or in such a way that you could not stop in time.
- The opposing party exhibited negligent behavior that caused the accident, not your use of alcohol or drugs found in your system at the time of the crash.
Our Vegas defense team will challenge the DUI-related manslaughter charges against you and fight for the most favorable outcome for your situation. We will be by your side the entire time to guide you on your next steps.
Call Us Now About Your Vegas DUI Manslaughter Defense Case
Emotions are probably high right now as you try to figure out what to do now that you’re facing vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide charges after a Vegas DUI accident. You don’t have to face this alone—we can help.
The team at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers understands these cases and how complex they are. Let us put your legal knowledge and experience to work for you. We will work to protect your future as we fight the charges in your case. A DUI conviction can cost you everything you’ve worked for, so you owe it to yourself to give yourself a chance to protect it.
Call us today at 702-805-2694 for a free consultation and case review. We can start working on your behalf when we hear from you.