Archives : vehicular manslaughter
Wrongly Accused in Sex / Murder Case
Many innocent persons are wrongly charged victims as a result of police suspecting them of a crime based upon a wrong tip or bad evidence. Their lives are affected when their homes, businesses and personal property are searched, their names are put in the newspaper and their reputations are tarnished with being accused of a crime. Even after they are acquitted or charges are dropped, their lives can continue to be disrupted under the cloud of suspicion initially raised against them.
Matthew Hurayt Case
Take for instance the Matthew Hurayt Case. In 2006, Matthew Hurayt and his roommate John McDonough were arrested because a tipster told police that Hurayt had raped and killed De Jesus and buried her body under his new garage. Police searched Hurayt ’s house, dug up his yard and under his garage looking for De Jesus’ remains, which were not found. After spending a weekend in jail for suspicion of aggravated murder of De Jesus, who vanished mysteriously in 2004, Hurayt, a convicted sex offender, and his roommate were ordered released by a Judge on September 25, 2006, who rejected the assistant county prosecutor’s request to increase the bond on an unrelated assault case.
Hurayt subsequently filed a claim for compensation for $20,000 in damages to his property with the city’s Moral Claims Commission, but the claim was rejected. In 2006, he was convicted on an assault case and released in 2010. For the past three years, he has been harassed by people who broke his windows, set fire to his garage and harassed him with telephone calls thinking he was still connected to Gena De Jesus’ case.
Gena De Jesus along with victims Amanda Berry and Michele Knight were found alive on Monday May 6, 2013, after a 911 call led police to a house in Cleveland, Ohio where the three young women had been held in captivity for approximately 10 years. In a press conference, De Jesus’ mother called upon the community not to retaliate against the family of the three suspects arrested in the girls’ kidnapping case, referring to the Castro brothers.
Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help Wrongfully Accused
If you have been wrongfully accused of a crime, an Ohio criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges and clear your good name and reputation to get the charges acquitted or the case dismissed. Your Ohio criminal defense attorney can also determine if your records can be sealed and help you with the process so that your life is not further disrupted, making it more difficult to find a place to live or a job. In the circumstance above, Hurayt was convicted of another case and had to register as a sex offender regardless of the false accusations surrounding the De Jesus case. Our legal system has a basic footing in which “the law presumes that persons charged with a crime are innocent until they are proven by competent evidence to be guilty.” This quote is found in the comments on Supreme Court case Coffin v. United States, 156 U.S. 432 (1895).
Defendants in FAMU 2011 Hazing Death Case Now Facing Stricter Manslaughter Charges
Stiffer charges of manslaughter have now been filed by the new prosecutor against the 13 defendants accused of participating in the 2011 death of 26 year old Florida A & M University (“FAMU”) marching band member Robert Champion. According to authorities, Champion died of multiple blows from many individuals during a hazing ritual aboard a charter bus parked in a hotel parking lot after an annual rivalry football game between FAMU and Bethune-Cookman in 2011. In addition, prosecutors have also charged two more individuals with manslaughter, who are awaiting arrests.
The manslaughter charge carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison in Florida. A status hearing on the case has been set for August 2013. It is not unusual for prosecutors to charge a defendant with a lesser charge while investigations are ongoing and later change the charge to a stricter one when more evidence has been found to justifying doing so.
Two other former band members were not among the 13 charged. Their cases were resolved last year. Both defendants pleaded no-contest to third degree felony hazing and have since been sentenced. One former FAMU band member received six months of community control, two years probation and 200 hours of community service. The other band member received four years of probation and 200 hours of community service. The FAMU has since taken measures to fight hazing and has suspended the band. The University is also looking for a new director of the band. Champion’s parents previously rejected an offer to settlement with the University for $300,000 in a civil wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Champions against the University.
Manslaughter differs from murder in that it is the result of killing someone without premeditation or malice as a result of an accidental death. In Florida, manslaughter is considered a second degree felony. A manslaughter conviction carries up to 15 years in state prison.
Florida Manslaughter Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know have been charged with a manslaughter offense in Florida, you should hire a Florida manslaughter criminal defense attorney immediately. At Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys, we have years of experience diligently representing clients charged with manslaughter. Your Imhoff criminal defense attorney will review all the details of your case to make sure that the all the facts are uncovered so that we can build a strong defense on your behalf. Your Imhoff attorney will argue such defenses as excusable homicide (result of an accident or in the heat of passion), justifiable homicide or self-defense (resisting an attempt by someone to kill or harm you, defending yourself) or defense of others in order to get your charges reduced to a lesser crime, get you alternative sentencing or get your charges dropped, depending on your specific case details.
Florida DUI laws are extremely tough. Under 316.193, F.S., you are considered driving under the influence if your BAC is .08 or above. If you are arrested for DUI in Florida, your license will automatically be revoked, and you may receive jail time, fines, penalties and/or community service depending on your BAC level, the circumstances of the DUI and whether you have had any other recent DUI convictions. Persons who refuse to take a BAL test will have their license suspended whether or not they are innocent of these charges. Further extenuating circumstances such causing serious injuries to someone else, vehicular manslaughter or leaving the scene of a crime related to a DUI are considered a felony, and could carry up to a 30 year prison sentence. (316.193, F.S. 322.271, F.S. and s. 322.28,F.S. 316.656, F.S., s. 322.2615 F.S.)
John Goodman DUI Case
Recently, John Goodman, founder of the Palm Beach International Polo Club, and the heir to a multimillion dollar air conditioning fortune, was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter and vehicular homicide in connection with the traffic death of 23 year old Scott Wilson, a Florida college graduate which occurred in February 2010, after Goodman, who had been drinking, hit Wilson’s car with his Bentley, and caused Wilson’s car to flip into a canal. Goodman left the scene of the accident on foot and waited approximately one hour later before reporting it to 911. By the time rescuers arrived at the scene, Wilson had drowned and was found trapped behind the wheel of his car. Goodman’s blood alcohol level three hours after the accident was more than twice the legal limit. Goodman also received attention when he recently adopted his 42 year old girlfriend. Goodman’s attorneys say the adoption was to protect a $300 million trust fund for Goodman’s two biological children, who are now suing him because they are opposed to the adoption of his girlfriend as their new sister.
Goodman’s attorneys plan to appeal the case citing multiple errors committed before and during the trail, which he claims played a role in denying his client a fair trial. Sentencing is scheduled for April 30, 2012. Goodman could face as much as 30 years in jail.
Florida DUI Criminal Attorney
Florida DUI laws are complex. If you have been arrested for a Florida DUI, you should contact a FL criminal lawyer to defend you. The attorney understands the Florida DUI laws and can get your charges reduced to a lesser charge, probation, community service, get your enrolled in a drug or alcohol treatment program, help you obtain a hardship reinstatement license if you qualify or get your case dismissed.
Section 2903.06 of the Ohio Revised Statutes makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle, including a motorcycle, snowmobile, watercraft or aircraft which causes the death or serious injury of another or of an unlawful termination of another’s person’s pregnancy. You could be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter. If convicted, you face fines, jail time and/or suspension of your driver’s license. You may also face a civil lawsuit filed against you by the victim or their family.
Aggravated Vehicular Homicide
The following offenses are considered aggravated vehicular homicide in Ohio:
Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs causing serious death or injury to another person or unlawful termination of a person’s pregnancy. It is considered a second-degree felony. You face a mandatory jail time of two to eight years, a lifetime suspension of your driver’s license and a fine up to $7,500.
Operating a motor vehicle recklessly in a construction zone, which results in the death or serious injury of another person. It is considered a third degree felony. You face a discretionary prison sentence of one to five years, a driver’s license suspension from three years to lifetime and a fine up to $5,000.
The following offense is considered a vehicular homicide in Ohio:
Operating a motor vehicle negligently or with excessive speed. It is considered a misdemeanor of the first degree. You face an optional jail sentence up to 180 days, a driver’s license suspension up to one to five years and a fine up to $1,000.
Operating a motor vehicle that causes the accidental death of another person. It is considered a misdemeanor of the second degree. You face an optional jail sentence up to 90 days and a fine up to $750.
Charges of misdemeanor vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, violation of assured clear distance and failure to proceed in marked lanes of travel were filed on May 3, 2010 in Chardon Municipal Court against 21-year-old male. The person charged was driving his vehicle on December 17, 2009 when he turned and struck a 48-year-old woman from behind while she was walking with traffic. The woman died as a result of her injuries.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol investigated the accident and determined the driver was not driving his vehicle in a reckless manner and that no drugs or alcohol were involved. Therefore, prosecutors made the decision that misdemeanor charges were appropriate. If convicted, he could face a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine up to $1,000. He pleaded not guilty and a pre-trial has been set in Chardon Municipal Court on June 1, 2010. Investigators at the scene found some front-end damage to the vehicle on the grill, hood and radiator. The accident occurred in a clear visible area of the road with a 25 M.P.H. speed limit.
The victim’s husband has filed a civil lawsuit against the driver in Geauga County Common Pleas Court for negligence and wrongful death causing pain and suffering to his wife. His lawsuit claims that the driver was negligently operating the motor vehicle.
If you are charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter in Ohio, you should hire an Ohio criminal defense attorney to defend you. The attorney may be able to plea bargain serious aggravated vehicular homicide charges to a reduced charge such as speeding or negligence or get you into a drug and alcohol counseling program which would give you a suspended sentence or probation or get your vehicular homicide charges or vehicular manslaughter charged reduced to lane changing.
A fatal car collision that occurred near Coachella, California has resulted in the deaths of three children and one adult. On Monday, October 27, 2008 at 1 a.m., a 2009 Cadillac CTS ran a stop sign and ploughed into a 1995 Ford Taurus.
Andres Z. Luna, a 33-year old from Thermal, California, was driving the Cadillac that killed the passengers of the Taurus â€“ an 11-month old, a 7-year old, an 8-year old and a 30-year old woman. None of the victims’ names have yet been released by the authorities.
Following the accident, Luna was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, as well as on four counts of vehicular manslaughter.
Details of the Accident
The car crash took place at Avenue 62 and Harrison Street in the desert town known as Coachella. After Luna ran a stop sign and crashed into the Taurus, the Taurus started spinning out-of-control, which only ended when the car rammed into a couple of concrete posts and a fire hydrant.
Upon these final impacts, the Taurus split in half. The Cadillac, on the other hand, remained intact following the crash.
While the three kids in the Taurus were thrown from the car during the events of the accident, the woman was still lodged in the wrecked vehicle. All four were already dead when authorities arrived at the scene.
Luna Faces Felony DUI and Vehicular Manslaughter Charges
The California Highway Patrol is still investigating whether or not Luna was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time of this tragic auto accident.
Authorities haven’t specified whether Luna submitted to a breathalyzer or whether a blood test was taken to evaluate his sobriety. As a result, Luna’s blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the crash is still unknown.
If convicted of felony DUI and four counts of vehicular manslaughter, Luna could face up to 40 years in a California State Prison, as each count of “Gross Vehicular Manslaughter with a DUI” carries up to a 10-year sentence.
Are You Facing DUI or Other Criminal Charges? If so, contact us today to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney who will provide you with the legal support you need to get your charges reduced, if not dropped altogether. Our experienced criminal law attorneys have been successfully representing individuals for years and are standing by to see how they can help you.
By Michael D. Grahn, Attorney at Law and Natalie Banach
The screeching of tires and smashing of car parts can signify the beginning of a horrifying experience in someones life. Getting into a car accident can produce a slew of emotional and physical problems and whats more, when a death occurs, criminal allegations can enter into the mix.
Under certain circumstances, when death occurs, either to a passenger, a nearby pedestrian or a person in the car that was struck, a charge of vehicular manslaughter can be brought against the driver of the offending vehicle. (Cal. Penal Code 192.) Accordingly, it is important to understand how a tragic accident can also become a criminal charge.
In many cases, an accident causing death is the result of negligence by the driver. When this negligence is coupled with the commission of a crime not constituting a felony, such as violation of speed limits or driving under the influence, vehicular manslaughter may be charged against the driver. (Cal. Penal Code 192(c).)
What Is Vehicular Manslaughter?
Vehicular manslaughter entails the unintentional, yet unlawful, killing of another human being as the result of a car accident. The crime requires proof that the death resulted from a driver operating an automobile with gross negligence or simple negligence and in violation of some law not amounting to a felony.
An important aspect of vehicular manslaughter entails the drivers violation of a law. If a person is driving negligently and in violation of any traffic law, he can be charged with vehicular manslaughter if the death of a human being occurs. This means that whether someone is driving a few miles over the speed limit or driving under the influence, a criminal charge can be brought against him or her if negligent driving causes the death of a human being.
Gross Negligence Often Tested in Car Accident Deaths
One of the standards that will often be tested in cases of death via a car accident is gross negligence. Gross negligence is defined as exercising so slight a degree of care so as to raise a presumption of conscience indifference. (See, People v. Watson (1981) Cal.3d 290, 296.) For example, assume Tom is taking medication recommending that he not drive or operate any vehicles for a three-hour period. Tom waits two-and-a-half hours, decides he is more than capable of driving, and on the way to the store hits and kills a pedestrian he did not see (because the medication had impaired his sight). In this instance, Tom can be charged with vehicular manslaughter and gross negligence because he was told not to drive and knowingly accepted the risks when he got into is car to go to the store. Gross negligence is usually more than simple disregard, but just shy of intentional evil.
For example, consider a situation where John is driving his automobile in his residential neighborhood at 50 miles per hour (well over the speed limit). John sees a number of people walking on the sidewalk, but fails to see one of his neighbors, Jane, steps off the sidewalk and into the street. Johns car strikes and kills Jane. In this instance, John could be charged with vehicular manslaughter because he (a) killed a human being, (b) violated a law not constituting a felony, the speed limit and (c) clearly exhibited gross negligence by driving so fast in a residential neighborhood.
Vehicular Manslaughter: Misdemeanor or Felony
Vehicular manslaughter can be charged either as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the severity of the situation and whether the driver was merely negligent or grossly negligent in operating the vehicle. (Cal. Penal Code 193(c).) A misdemeanor could result in the maximum punishment of a year in county jail and a fine, while a felony conviction could result in a state prison term. (Id.) Other consequences of vehicular manslaughter can include probation or parole, and the loss of driving privileges.
In contrast to vehicular manslaughter, an instance of a purely tragic accident, with no criminal culpability, would have to involve a completely safe and vigilant driver. For example, Susan is driving within the speed limit on a residential street and is thoroughly aware of her surroundings. Out of nowhere her neighbor runs into the street thinking there were no cars. Susan strikes and kills her neighbor. This case could be considered a tragic accident, since Susan was driving safely and observantly, adhering to all the laws and could not have predicted that her neighbor would run into the street.
Thus, anyone involved in an auto accident where injury or death occurs would be well-advised to seek legal advice in order to determine whether he faces the possibility of criminal prosecution.
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