Pittsburgh Homicide by Vehicle Attorney
About Vehicular Homicide
Motor vehicles play a major role in American society, for nearly every adult of reasonable means owns at least one car or truck. We need our vehicles to get to and from work, to drive our children to school, and to run everyday errands. While we do our best to observe the state's traffic laws, most people are involved in at least one auto accident within their lifetime, if not multiple accidents whether or not it was their fault, it's just a normal part of American life these days.
Unfortunately, along with the high chances of being involved in an auto collision come the chances of being involved in a fatal accident. Since auto accidents are predominantly caused by driver negligence more than any other cause; those drivers who accidentally injure or worse, kill another driver or passenger in a collision can face criminal consequences in Pennsylvania.
Section 3732 Homicide by Vehicle
Under Section 3732 Homicide by Vehicle (a), any person who recklessly or with gross negligence causes the death of another human being while violating any law of this Commonwealth or municipal ordinance applying to operating a motor vehicle or the use of a vehicle, or to the regulation of traffic with the exception of Section 3802 (involving driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol) is guilty of committing the crime of homicide by vehicle. Homicide by vehicle in Pennsylvania is a third degree felony when such violation causes death.
Under Title 18, Crimes and Offenses, Chapter 11, § 1101, a third degree felony is punishable by $15,000 in fines, and under Title 18, Chapter 11, § 1103 a third degree felony is punishable by a maximum of seven years as determined by the court.
As you can see, being involved in an auto accident that causes death to another person, whether it's a friend or family member in your own vehicle, or an occupant of the other vehicle has serious, life-altering repercussions. This is especially the case if you're married, or worse, have minor children depending upon you for love and financial support.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2011 32,367 people died in motor vehicle collisions in the United States, which was actually the lowest number since 1949. In 2011, there were 3,331 fatalities involving distracted driving, a 1.9% increase from 2010. According to the NHTSA, in 2011 the state of Pennsylvania had 1,286 fatalities, a -2.9% decrease from 2010.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
Today, the three common causes of auto accidents include alcohol impaired driving, speeding, and distracted driving. Distracted driving involves any activity that takes the driver's eyes of the road (visual), their hands off the wheel (manual), and their mind off the task of driving (cognitive). Virtually anything that takes the person's attention away from the primary task of driving is considered a distraction. Common forms of distracted driving include: texting, using a cellular phone, eating and drinking, talking with passengers, reading (including maps or directions), using a navigation system, adjusting the radio or a CD player, or DVD player, or watching a video.
It's a scary thought that a simple momentary lapse in judgment can lead to a serious and fatal collision, but it happens every day. The sad thought is that most people routinely engage in various distractions when driving but they don't normally lead to fatal collisions. When a normally law abiding citizen engages in distracted driving or overcorrects or makes another error in judgment when behind the wheel, the consequences can be devastating for the victims and themselves.
If you or someone you love is facing charges for homicide by vehicle, we urge you to contact Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Frank Walker. We recommend that you stop despairing and allow us to step in so we can assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case and determine the best course of action to take. Your future and your liberty depend on the outcome of your criminal proceedings, let us protect your rights and pursue a favorable outcome in your criminal case.