Criminal Vehicular Homicide in MN
The Minnesota criminal vehicular homicide statute punishes someone who causes the death of another while operating a motor vehicle under one of several conditions.
The criminal vehicular homicide statute, while punishing an action that causes the death of another, is different from murder or manslaughter. There is a distinction between the intent and the risks the person took in a charge of criminal vehicular homicide versus murder or manslaughter.
A person is guilty of criminal vehicular homicide in Minnesota if the person causes the death of another as a result of operating a motor vehicle in any one of the following conditions:
- In a grossly negligent manner;
- In a negligent manner while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance;
- While having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more;
- In a negligent manner while knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance;
- In a negligent manner while any amount of a Schedule I or II controlled substance, other than marijuana, is present in the person’s body
- Where the driver who caused the collision leaves the scene of the accident; or
- Where the driver had actual knowledge that a police officer had previously issued a citation to the driver that the vehicle was defectively maintained, the driver knew that the defective condition was not remedied, the driver had reason to know that the defective condition caused a danger to others, and the death was caused by the defective maintenance.
Conditions to Consider When Charged
There are a number of conditions in which a person could face a charge of Minnesota criminal vehicular homicide.
The most common situation occurs when a drunk driver causes an accident that results in the death of another. This was most recently highlighted in the Amy Senser case.
This act fits a charge of criminal vehicular homicide in Minnesota under a number of the conditions listed above.
The level of the driver’s culpability will largely depend on the facts of each individual Minnesota criminal vehicular homicide case.
If the driver’s BAC was under .08 and the driver did not previously use a Schedule I or II controlled substance, then the entire set of circumstances that led to the collision and death will need to be vigorously investigated.
Or, if the driver is charged with criminal vehicular homicide in Minnesota because of the presence of a controlled substance, it is an affirmative defense that the driver used the controlled substance according to the terms of a valid prescription.
A driver charged with Minnesota criminal vehicular homicide will need to prepare a strong defense to an accusation of gross negligence.
Gross negligence will depend on all of the circumstances that led to the collision and resulting death, including the time of day, road conditions, traffic conditions, speed of everyone involved, etc.
If convicted, the driver faces a presumptive sentence of at least 48 months in prison.
You will want an experienced lawyer on your side if you are facing a charge of criminal vehicular homicide.
Contact a MN Defense Attorney
Our St. Paul criminal defense lawyers are familiar with the issues and defenses in a criminal vehicular homicide case.
The lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka will aggressively defend you if you have been charged.
Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense in St. Paul, MN. John received his J.D., from Hamline University School of Law and also carries a Bachelor of Arts from, The University of Minnesota. John was named Attorney of the Year for 2019 by Minnesota Lawyer. Additionally, John was also named as a 2019 Rising Star and was selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2021. He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime.