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Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / What You Should Know About Vehicular Homicide Charges

What You Should Know About Vehicular Homicide Charges


Colorado law is strict when it comes to penalties for driving behaviors that are dangerous to others on the roadways, especially driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as well as other forms of reckless driving. While these types of driving behaviors on their own — even when there is no crash — can result in serious criminal consequences, it is essential to know that you can be facing prison time if you are charged with and convicted of vehicular homicide, you will face penalties of a class 4 or class 3 felony in Colorado.

What should you know about vehicular homicide charges in Colorado? The most important thing to know is that you should seek legal help from a defense lawyer as quickly as possible to begin building the strongest possible defense. It is also important to understand the details of the offense, the potential penalties, and possible defense. Our Denver criminal defense lawyers can tell you more.

Understanding the Language of Vehicular Homicide in Colorado 

How does Colorado law define vehicular homicide? Unlike other types of homicide charges, there is no requirement of intent to harm. Instead, under Section 18-3-106 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, “if a person operates or drives a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, and such conduct is the proximate cause of the death of another, such person commits vehicular homicide.”

In short, a person commits vehicular homicide if they are driving while ability impaired (DWAI), driving under the influence (DUI), or engaging in reckless driving when they cause an accident that results in another person’s death. A DWAI is driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.05 percent and 0.08 percent, a DUI is driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, and reckless driving is driving with a conscious disregard for the risk associated with your behavior.

Penalties for Vehicular Homicide 

Under Colorado law, vehicular homicide is charged as either a class 4 felony or a class 3 felony, which comes with the following criminal penalties in addition to the administrative penalties that are associated with a DWAI or DUI in the state:

  • Prison sentence of between two and twelve years; and
  • Fine of anywhere from $2,000 to $750,000.

In general, reckless driving that causes a crash involving a death is often charged as a class 4 felony, while DWAI/DUI that causes a crash involving a death is charged as a more serious class 3 felony.

Potential Defenses Against Vehicular Homicide Charges 

The best defense or defenses in your case will depend on the specific facts surrounding the accident from which you are facing charges, but potential defenses may include, for example:

  • You were not driving recklessly;
  • You were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Your driving was not the cause of the accident; or
  • Violation of your 4th, 5th, or 6th Amendment rights at the time of the arrest or in the post-arrest period.

Contact a Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer 

Anyone who is facing vehicular homicide charges, whether for DWAI/DUI or reckless driving, needs to have an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney at DeChant Law who can assist with their defense. This is an extremely serious felony charge that comes with severe criminal penalties in the event of a conviction. Contact our firm today to discuss the details of your case and to learn more about how we can assist you with your defense.



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