Vehicular Homicides

Vehicular Homicides are one of the most tragic crimes this Office deals with on a daily basis.  This is true because, in large part, they are 100 percent preventable crimes that take the lives of wholly innocent victims and leave the offending driver, (often times otherwise law abiding citizens), facing significant prison time—up to 25 years –ultimately altering multiple families’ lives forever.

Vehicular Homicides encompass more than just the alcohol impaired driver.  They include reckless drivers (whether under the influence or not), criminally negligent drivers (whether under the influence or not), and drivers who are under the influence of drugs, either illicit or prescription.  Contrary to popular belief, having a prescription for the drug or drugs in one’s system at the time of a crash does not absolve the driver from criminal liability.  So long as the drug at issue is found in Public Health Law 3306 and at the time of the operation of the vehicle, the driver’s mental and/or physical abilities are impaired to any extent by the use of that drug or drugs, the driver may be charged at the very least with Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a Class D Felony, which carries a sentence of up to 7 years in state prison.

Additionally, even where there is no criminal liability on the part of the driver involved in a fatal crash, he or she may still face criminal prosecution and a sentence of up to 7 years in state prison where he or she is: 1. involved in a fatal crash, 2. knew or should have known that someone was physically injured, and 3. failed to stay at the scene or to report the incident to the nearest police station as soon as physically able.  The stakes are just too high not to stay at the scene and do the right thing.

In our on-going effort to prosecute offenders of these senseless crimes, the Albany County District Attorney established a Vehicular Crime Unit.   The Vehicular Crime Unit (VCU) is comprised of specially trained prosecutors who oversee the investigation and prosecution of serious vehicular felonies, including vehicular assaults and homicides.  The Unit works closely with the local police agencies to ensure that evidence is thoroughly and effectively obtained right from the inception of the case so as to strengthen the criminal prosecution of what are often complex and difficult cases.

As the New York State Legislature continues to arm prosecutors with tougher tools to combat these senseless crimes, this Office is dedicated to using those tools to vigorously prosecute each and every vehicular homicide and obtain justice for the family members left behind.  This Office will accept nothing less.

 

 

Crash scene photo