New York Penal Law § 125.14: Aggravated vehicular homicide

Under the New York Penal Code if you are intoxicated, decide to drive a car, SUV, minivan or any other type of vehicle and en up killing another person, you will be charged with a serious crime. In New York there are 3 offenses related to killing someone while driving while intoxicated, the most serious of which is aggravated vehicular homicide. Under New York Penal Law § 125.14 you will face a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide if you drive recklessly while intoxicated, cause the death of another person, and:

  • Your BAC was at least .18,
  • Within the past 10 years you were previously convicted of driving while intoxicated in New York or another state,
  • Your driving privileges had been suspended in another state because you were convicted of driving while intoxicated,
  • Your driving privileges had been suspended in another state because you refused to take a test to determine if you were driving while intoxicated,
  • You caused the death of more than one person,
  • You had been previously convicted of vehicular manslaughter or vehicular assault, or
  • A child who was less than 15 years old was in the car with you and was killed.
Example

On the way home from work Joe stopped at a bar and has a few beers. He then decides to drive home. He approaches a stop sign, slows down but does not stop. Kendra steps into the crosswalk in front of Joe's car and Joe hits her. Kendra is pronounced dead at the scene. The police smell alcohol on Joe's breath. Because Joe performs poorly on the field sobriety test he is arrested. If a chemical test shows that he has a BAC of .18 or more, he could be prosecuted for aggravated vehicular manslaughter.

Related Offenses
  1. Vehicular manslaughter in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 125.13
  2. Vehicular manslaughter in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 125.12
  3. Reckless driving: New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1212
Defenses

One basis for a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide is having a BAC of at least .18. When law enforcement performs a chemical test to determine your BAC the test must be performed so that the results are unassailable. You can challenge the accuracy of the chemical test that was used by the prosecutor as evidence that you were intoxicated.

You may also have a defense related to how the test was administered. New York has rules that must be followed as to how chemical tests must be administered and how the equipment must be calibrated.

Sentence

Because aggravated vehicular homicide is a class B felony the judge could sentence you to up to 25 years in prison, plus order you to pay a substantial fine. In addition your driving privileges will be suspended or revoked.

New York Penal Code § 125.14: Aggravated vehicular homicide

A person is guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide when he or she engages in reckless driving as defined by section twelve hundred twelve of the vehicle and traffic law, and commits the crime of vehicular manslaughter in the second degree as defined in § 125.12 of this article, and either:

  1. commits such crimes while operating a motor vehicle while such person has .18 of one per centum or more by weight of alcohol in such person's blood as shown by chemical analysis of such person's blood, breath, urine or saliva made pursuant to the provisions of section eleven hundred ninety-four of the vehicle and traffic law;

  2. commits such crimes while knowing or having reason to know that: (a) his or her license or his or her privilege of operating a motor vehicle in another state or his or her privilege of obtaining a license to operate a motor vehicle in another state is suspended or revoked and such suspension or revocation is based upon a conviction in such other state for an offense which would, if committed in this state, constitute a violation of any of the provisions of section eleven hundred ninety-two of the vehicle and traffic law; or (b) his or her license or his or her privilege of operating a motor vehicle in this state or his or her privilege of obtaining a license issued by the commissioner of motor vehicles is suspended or revoked and such suspension or revocation is based upon either a refusal to submit to a chemical test pursuant to section eleven hundred ninety-four of the vehicle and traffic law or following a conviction for a violation of any of the provisions of section eleven hundred ninety-two of the vehicle and traffic law;

  3. has previously been convicted of violating any of the provisions of section eleven hundred ninety-two of the vehicle and traffic law within the preceding ten years, provided that, for the purposes of this subdivision, a conviction in any other state or jurisdiction for an offense which, if committed in this state, would constitute a violation of section eleven hundred ninety-two of the vehicle and traffic law, shall be treated as a violation of such law;

  4. causes the death of more than one other person;

  5. causes the death of one person and the serious physical injury of at least one other person; or

  6. has previously been convicted of violating any provision of this article or article one hundred twenty of this title involving the operation of a motor vehicle, or was convicted in any other state or jurisdiction of an offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle which, if committed in this state, would constitute a violation of this article or article one hundred twenty of this title. If it is established that the person operating such motor vehicle caused such death or deaths while unlawfully intoxicated or impaired by the use of alcohol or a drug, or by the combined influence of drugs or of alcohol and any drug or drugs, 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 in a manner that caused such death or deaths, as required by this section and § 125.12 of this article.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are charged with aggravated vehicular homicide it is imperative that you are represented by someone with experience. If you are convicted you could go to prison for up to 25 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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