Reckless Driving Causing Death Defense Attorney
What is the Penalty for Reckless Driving Causing Death? What are the defenses? How can a lawyer help me with this charge?
As of October 31, 2010, a person who operates a motor vehicle in willful, wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property and in doing so causes the death of another person, is guilty of a felony punishable by 15 years in jail or a fine between $2,500-$10,000, or both, and up to 5 years probation. In addition to the criminal penalties and fines, Michigan law also provides for the forfeiture of the vehicle involved if the defendant owns the vehicle and revocation of the accused driver’s license.
What Constitutes Reckless Driving?
Reckless Driving is defined as “willful” or “wanton” disregard for the safety of other people, whether they are in cars or not. Willful means deliberate and intentional. Wanton means deliberate and unprovoked. The statute does not mean a person intentionally and deliberately hurt someone. It means a person drove with a deliberate and intentional disregard for the safety of other persons, which resulted in the harm and injuries, death in the case of Reckless Driving Causing Death. Examples of these are so-called “road rage,” driving at very high speeds, driving too fast for road conditions, and driving in such an unsafe manner that one could assume an accident will probably occur, and someone will be hurt, to name a few.
Prosecutors and police are often under tremendous pressure to criminal charge someone when there is a death in an auto accident. In most of these cases, the deceased family is understandably upset and wants to feel that someone is responsible and being held accountable. Unfortunately, this pressure can result in someone being wrongfully charged or overcharged. Sometimes, accidents are just accidents. When the prosecution has chosen to file criminal charges, the defendant will need the help of a highly experienced and respected defense lawyer to protect and defend them in court.
What if I am not arrested, will I still be charged with Reckless Driving Causing Death?
In almost every case, a suspect is not charged right away with Reckless Driving Causing Death. In these cases, the police will do an extensive investigation, interview witnesses, and obtain an accident reconstruction report from an expert. These investigations can take weeks or months before a charging decision is made. Retaining an expert defense lawyer as early as possible is your best defense to these charges, and hiring a lawyer on a pre-charge basis might make the difference in whether charges are ever issued.
Is there a lesser offense to Reckless Driving Causing Death?
Yes. Civil Infraction Causing Death is a lesser or lower offense than Reckless Driving Causing Death, which is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Civil Infraction Causing Death is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of up to 1 year in jail. Where a felony conviction generally results in jail time, most defendants convicted of the misdemeanor, Civil Infraction Causing Death, avoid jail or prison.
Do People Usually do Jail Time if Convicted of Reckless Driving Causing Death?
As can be imagined, these cases are treated very sternly by most judges. If you do not have a top-rated, shrewd criminal defense attorney, you will be in jeopardy of doing jail or prison time. It is critical that you retain a seasoned, veteran criminal defense attorney who knows the possible defenses to this charge and how to negotiate with the prosecutor and judge for lower charges or to avoid jail or prison time. The contributory fault of the deceased person can be used as a defense if the lawyer can make a credible and persuasive argument.
How do I Find the Best Criminal Defense Attorney for a Reckless Driving Charge?
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is widely known for providing the highest caliber defense available in Michigan. We are almost always successful in keeping our clients out of jail if there is a conviction, and our primary goal is to make sure there is no conviction at all. We take the time to thoroughly prepare and develop a strategy to get the best possible results. If you are charged with felony Reckless Driving in any court in Southeast Michigan, contact us and we will find a way to help you.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.