The most serious DWI that you can get charged with in the state of New Jersey is one that involves the death of another. Not surprisingly, a conviction for a felony DWI is one that comes with very severe fines, penalties and secondary consequences that will last a lifetime. This type of vehicular homicide often referred to as a felony DWI or “death by auto”, individuals are charged with second degree homicide in most felony DWI/DUI cases in New Jersey but can be elevated to a first-degree offense if that accident occurred in a school zone.
N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5 provides the basis for vehicular homicide in New Jersey. For a felony DWI to be established, the prosecution must prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) the following: you were impaired while driving the vehicle (i.e. drugs or alcohol) and that you were in an accident that ultimately led to the death of another because of your reckless behavior. Some of the fines and penalties attached to a death by auto conviction in New Jersey include:
- Jail time: If convicted of a second-degree crime, prison time ranges from Five to10 years. If convicted of a first degree crime, prison time ranges from 10 to20 years. New Jersey also has a No Early Release Act [NERA] in place for this crime meaning that an individual would have to serve at least 85 percent of their state prison sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
- Fines: Fines are usually no lower than $10,000 following a vehicular homicide conviction.
- Probation: Probation in these types of cases is really aimed at ensuring that an individual does not repeat the same deadly action. Depending on the nature of the original offense as well as past criminal convictions, the probation sentence could last years.
- Driver’s license suspension: A license suspension can be from five years to life depending on the specifics of the case.
- Wrongful death suits: In addition to dealing with the criminal charges, many individuals will also have to defend themselves against wrongful death suits by the family of the victim.
- Criminal record: the presence of a criminal record with a serious conviction such as “death by auto” can have a tremendous impact on things like housing and employment, as it is a common application question.
Just because you are charged with this crime does not mean that you will be convicted. Get in touch with the Law Offices of Thomas Carroll Blauvelt, LLC, today to fight the charges against you.
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If you or a loved one has recently been charged with a felony DWI in New Jersey, give me a call today to discuss the details of your case, your first consultation is always free. With over 25 years of experience, Thomas Carroll Blauvelt is who you want fighting for you. Time is of the essence in these cases, pick up the phone today! I look forward to speaking with you!