Homicide by Motor Vehicle

Homicide by Motor Vehicle

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Motor Vehicle Homicide Defense Attorney

If you are facing vehicular homicide charges, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away.  In addition to the stress and overwhelming feelings you are dealing with, you face the potential for further life-altering consequences if you are convicted.  You have rights – protect yourself by retaining a Boston Criminal Defense Attorney today.

Fatal car crashes often go hand-in-hand with OUI allegations.  However, accidents can be caused by a number of factors, including distracted driving (texting while driving), road rage, carelessness, and bad weather.

The charge is taken so seriously that a group of assistant district attorneys, known as the Motor Vehicle Homicide Unit, is on call 24/7 to respond to serious motor vehicle crashes that result in death.  They work with police to reconstruct accident scenes, preserve evidence, and investigate the crash.

Defending Vehicular Homicide Charges

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys know how to respond to charges related to motor vehicle homicide.  We have secured positive outcomes, including acquittal of very serious charges at trial.  For example, a Quincy District Court trial of ours was nationally reported by NPR: our client was found not guilty after a four day motor vehicle homicide trial

Elements of Vehicular Homicide

In order to convict someone of Homicide by Motor Vehicle, the prosecution has to prove a number of things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. You were driving a motor vehicle
  2. On a public way
  3. While under the influence of alcohol or drugs OR operated the vehicle recklessly OR negligently so that public safety is endangered, and
  4. Caused the death of another person.


The prosecutor is not required to prove that your actions were the only cause of the person’s death, but must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you caused the death by setting in motion a chain of events that produced the death.  Click here for sample jury instructions to learn more about the necessary elements of the charges.  

Consequences of a Conviction

The potential punishment can be compounded when combined with other charges.  Every single one carries the potential for significant fines and loss of driver’s license.  For example:

Vehicular Homicide while Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs and Operating Wantonly and Recklessly

Mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in state prison, maximum 20 years.

Vehicular Homicide while Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs and Operating Recklessly or Negligently

Mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year in county jail, maximum 15 years in state prison.

Vehicular Homicide while Operating under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs or while Operating Recklessly or Negligently

Mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days in county jail, maximum 2 ½ years.

Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs while Operating Recklessly or Negligently and Causing Serious Bodily Injury

Mandatory minimum sentence of 6 months in county jail, maximum 10 years in state prison.

Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs ad Causing Serious Bodily Injury

Maximum sentence of 2 ½ years in county jail.


Convictions come with a steep driver’s license suspension too.

If you or a loved one is facing Vehicular Homicide charges in Boston or throughout Massachusetts, contact us today at (781) 797-0555 for a free telephone consultation.

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