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Ohio Revised Code 2903.06(a)

Vehicle in the Rain

Ohio Revised Code 2903.06(a): Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Homicide, & Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated

What Happens if I Harm Someone as the Result of my DUI?

If you harmed someone or caused a death while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will be facing much more severe consequences and penalties. You will likely be facing a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide, or vehicular manslaughter. While you may have had no intention of killing another person, a vehicular homicide charge means that due to your actions while operating your vehicle, you caused the death of a human being. However, you can only be convicted of these offenses if the prosecution proves that your unlawful driving was the legal cause of the other person’s death, meaning that there must be a direct link between your driving and the death of the other person.

If you were charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, under Ohio Revised Code section 2903.06, it means that you are charged with causing the death of another person either (a) as a proximate result of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs; (b) recklessly; or (c) as the proximate result of committing a reckless operation offense in a construction zone.

If you were charged with vehicular homicide, under O.R.C. section 2903.06, it means that you are charged with causing the death of another person while operating a vehicle, either (a) negligently; or (b) as the proximate result of speeding in a construction zone. Under these circumstances, the charge is likely for negligently operating a vehicle by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Lastly, if you were charged with vehicular manslaughter, under O.R.C. section 2903.06, it means that you are charged with causing the death of another person or an unborn child while operating your vehicle as the result of a misdemeanor traffic violation, in this case a misdemeanor violation of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

What Are The Consequences?

If you were charged with aggravated vehicular homicide while driving under the influence, you will be facing very harsh penalties, including a second-degree felony with a mandatory prison sentence of 2 to 8 years, a maximum fine of up to $15,000, as well as a mandatory driver’s license suspension for life. If you have a history of multiple DUI/OVI convictions before being charged with this aggravated vehicular homicide offense, you could also face a mandatory prison sentence of 10 to 15 years under Ohio law.

If you were charged with vehicular homicide, you will be facing a first-degree misdemeanor charge that carries a possibility of a jail term of up to six months, up to a maximum of $1,000 in fines, and a mandatory driver’s license suspension for 1 to 5 years. If you were also driving with a suspended license or if you have a prior conviction for vehicular homicide or any other traffic-related homicide, manslaughter, or assault offense, your vehicular homicide charge could be elevated to a fourth-degree felony, and you could face up to 18 months in prison and a driver’s license suspension of 2 years up to life.

Lastly, if you were charged with vehicular manslaughter, you will be facing a second-degree misdemeanor that may cause you to be sentenced to a jail term of up to 90 days, up to $750 in fines, as well as a mandatory driver’s license suspension of 6 months up to 3 years. However, your penalties for this charge could be elevated to a first-degree misdemeanor charge if you were also driving with no license or a suspended license or if you had a prior conviction for vehicular homicide or any other traffic-related homicide, manslaughter, or assault offense. If your charge is elevated for these reasons to a first-degree misdemeanor charge, you could face up to six months in jail instead of 90 days.

How Is This Handled Differently Than A Typical DUI?

 First, it is important to understand that if you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and you were also charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide, or vehicular manslaughter, these offenses are still in addition to the DUI/OVI charge. As a result, you will still face the penalties for your DUI/OVI such as an administrative driver’s license suspension, fines, substance abuse treatment, or other penalties, but you will also face the much harsher penalties resulting from the enhanced charges for causing the death of another person while you were operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Also, these charges will be handled differently in terms of the required evidence that the prosecution must show in order to secure a conviction. The prosecution must prove not only that you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated, as also required for your DUI charge, but the prosecution must also prove that you caused the vehicle accident in question as well as that another person died as a direct and proximate result of the injuries that he or she suffered in the crash caused by you.

What Do These Charges Mean?

First, these charges mean that you caused the death of another human being in a car accident while you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The difference between these charges and a murder charge is that you did not actually intend to kill the other person. Next, by causing the death of another, you will also likely face a wrongful death civil lawsuit by the victim’s family or estate. A guilty plea or conviction can be used against you in that civil suit. These charges can also prevent you from finding future employment or being admitted into universities and colleges.

Finally, it is important to remember that the outcome of your criminal proceedings for these offenses can also be used against you in a civil lawsuit against you for the wrongful death of the person whose death you are accused of causing. The family or estate of the individual who died will almost certainly sue you, and any negative result in your criminal case could also lead to you losing a civil lawsuit and being liable for a substantial amount of money to the victim’s family or estate.

            If you have been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide, or vehicular homicide in Ohio, it is extremely important that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options to ensure that the case against you is either dismissed or the penalties potentially less harsh. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Ohio can examine all of the prosecution’s evidence against you, hire experts to analyze the evidence and the police investigator’s conclusions, ensure that the sobriety tests were properly administered, calibrated, and maintained, and check all relevant medical records and coroner reports to make sure that you are able to present the strongest defense possible to these charges. If you are convicted of any of these charges, you will face imprisonment and a very negative impact on other aspects of your life aside from just the stain on your criminal record. By hiring a qualified attorney, you may be able to find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you that allow you to secure an acquittal, have the charges dismissed, or possibly secure a lenient plea agreement with the prosecution.