New York Penal Law § 125.12: Vehicular manslaughter in the second degree

If you are intoxicated by drugs or alcohol and you kill someone while you are driving a car, minivan, SUV or other type of vehicle, you could face a charge of vehicular manslaughter. The New York criminal code defines three different types of criminal offenses related to killing someone as a result of driving while intoxicated: vehicular manslaughter in the second degree, vehicular manslaughter in the first degree and aggravated vehicular homicide. Of these three offenses vehicular manslaughter in the second degree is the least serious. However, it is still a felony. Under New York Penal Law § 125.12 you will face a charge of vehicular manslaughter in the second degree if you kill another person, and:

  • You operate a vehicle while you are legally intoxicated, meaning that your blood alcohol level is at last .08 or driving while your ability is impaired by drugs,
  • You operate a vehicle while you are legally intoxicated and the vehicle has flammable gas, radioactive materials or explosives in it, or
  • You operate a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
Example

George spends the evening at a party at a friend's home where he eats and consumes several drinks over a period of 4 hours. He finally leaves at 1:00am. About 10 minutes after driving away from his friend's home, George collides with another car. The driver of the other car dies 3 days later from injuries sustained in the accident. A chemical test revealed that George's BAC level was .09. George could be prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter in the second degree.

Related Offenses
  1. Vehicular manslaughter in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 125.13
  2. Aggravated vehicular homicide: New York Penal Law § 125.14
  3. Reckless driving: New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1212
Defenses

If you are able to challenge the validity of the chemical test used to prove that were intoxicated at the time of the accident, then you may have a successful defense against a charge of vehicular manslaughter in the second degree. For example, there are specific procedures that must be followed to ensure the accuracy of the chemical test.

Sentence

Because vehicular manslaughter in the second degree is a class D felony the maximum possible sentence is 7 years in prison. In addition your driving privileges will be suspended or revoked.

New York Penal Law § 125.12: Vehicular manslaughter in the second degree

A person is guilty of vehicular manslaughter in the second degree when he or she causes the death of another person, and either:

  1. operates a motor vehicle in violation of subdivision two, three, four or four-a of section eleven hundred ninety-two of the vehicle and traffic law or operates a vessel or public vessel in violation of paragraph (b), (c), (d) or (e) of subdivision two of section forty-nine-a of the navigation law, and as a result of such intoxication or impairment by the use of a drug, or by the combined influence of drugs or of alcohol and any drug or drugs, operates such motor vehicle, vessel or public vessel in a manner that causes the death of such other person, or

  2. operates a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than eighteen thousand pounds which contains flammable gas, radioactive materials or explosives in violation of subdivision one of section eleven hundred ninety-two of the vehicle and traffic law, and such flammable gas, radioactive materials or explosives is the cause of such death, and as a result of such impairment by the use of alcohol, operates such motor vehicle in a manner that causes the death of such other person, or

  3. operates a snowmobile in violation of paragraph (b), (c) or (d) of subdivision one of § 25.24 of the parks, recreation and historic preservation law or operates an all terrain vehicle as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision one of section twenty-two hundred eighty-one of the vehicle and traffic law in violation of subdivision two, three, four, or four-a of section eleven hundred ninety-two of the vehicle and traffic law, and as a result of such intoxication or impairment by the use of a drug, or by the combined influence of drugs or of alcohol and any drug or drugs, operates such snowmobile or all terrain vehicle in a manner that causes the death of such other person. If it is established that the person operating such motor vehicle, vessel, public vessel, snowmobile or all terrain vehicle caused such death while unlawfully intoxicated or impaired by the use of alcohol or a drug, then there shall be a rebuttable presumption that, as a result of such intoxication or impairment by the use of alcohol or a drug, or by the combined influence of drugs or of alcohol and any drug or drugs, such person operated the motor vehicle, vessel, public vessel, snowmobile or all terrain vehicle in a manner that caused such death, as required by this section.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are charged with vehicular manslaughter in the second degree it is imperative that you are represented by someone with experience. If you are convicted you could go to prison for up to 7 years and lose precious time with your loved ones. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter, conspiracy, murder and other serious crimes. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of crimes in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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