When a New Yorker is accused of a crime, he or she might face multiple charges. In some cases, an arresting officer or prosecution might attempt to charge the New Yorker with crimes beyond the scope of the originating crime or as many crimes he or she can. Such a situation could mean harsh and serious penalties for the defendant, if they are convicted. Therefore, it is important that the accused makes a strong defense, so he or she is not convicted of a crime he or she did not commit.
According to a recent report, an ongoing vehicular homicide case in New York could change the criminal consequences of such cases in the state. This case stems from a 2012 accident that resulted in a police officer being stuck and killed at the site of an alleged drunk driving accident. What makes the case unique is that the defendant in the case was charged with vehicular homicide, but was not behind the wheel of a vehicle when the officer was struck and killed.
Prosecutors claim that because his alleged drunk driving set in motion a series of events that eventually led to the fatal accident, he should be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide. The criminal defense in the matter is the legal principle of causation and foreseeability. The defendant is arguing that it was not foreseeable that his vehicle clipping another vehicle would cause another vehicle the crash into his rolled over vehicle, resulting in the arriving officer being struck just before this collision.
The state judge originally dismissed the charge, claiming that the death of the arriving officer was solely attributable to the driver of the other vehicle, who was not charged in the matter. Nonetheless, the state appeals court reinstated the charges, claiming that it was reasonably foreseeable that a drunk driver could cause such a collision, causing a police officer to respond to such a collision and place the officer in potential lethal danger of fast-moving traffic in the area.
If convicted, the driver could face up to 25 years in prison for aggravated vehicular homicide, manslaughter, DUI and other charges. But, the defendant could face lesser charges if he is able to dismiss the vehicular homicide and manslaughter charges with the foreseeability defense.
When an individual is accused of a crime or multiple charges, it is always important to make a defense against the accusations. This not only helps the accused reduce or dismiss charges, but ensures that his or her rights and interests are protected.
Source: The Rakya Post, “NY man’s vehicular homicide case tests limits of criminal blame,” Jan. 19, 2016