Articles Posted in Assault By Auto

The Monmouth County Prosecutors Office and a Howell man resolved death by auto charges this week. The underage suspect struck a tree resulting in the death of a 16 year old passenger.  The defendant was allegedly operating his vehicle in a reckless manner at the time of the crash. The resolution included a plea to a downgraded offense of Second Degree Aggravated Assault from an original charge of vehicular homicide. 

In another auto death case, an Ocean County women who was previously a contestant on American Idol, was struck by an individual subsequently charged with a crime. The suspect, who was apprehended and arrested several days after the accident, has been charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident. The criminal charges are now pending in the Superior Court in Toms River.

While charges of the nature involved in both these cases are extremely serious, this pedigree of offense tends to be susceptible to numerous defenses. This is particularly true where there is no evidence of drugs or alcohol, or where the evidence is prone to collateral attack. Experience in handling complicated issues of intoxication and proof thereof clearly comes in handy in the majority of these cases and one would assume that they could be of assistance in these cases.

Almost 3 years ago, two sisters were killed in a collision with a state trooper.  The girls were running an errand and had the misfortune of being struck by a police cruiser allegedly involved in a chase. The officer admittedly did not have his siren or lights activated at the time of the accident.

The trooper was issued multiple motor vehicle tickets following the accident. He was later indicted for death by auto.  He is facing 5 to 10 years in prison if convicted of this offense. This controversial trial is set to begin in Cape May County.

The New Jersey Death by Auto Law is set forth at N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5. An individual is criminally culpable under this provision if he or she operates a vehicle “recklessly” and it results in the death of another. While these cases typically involve some element of intoxication, the law does not mandate involvement of foreign substance and reckless conduct of any origin will suffice. In order to be convicted of vehicular homicide, an individual must have been the operator of a vehicle, his or her operation must have resulted in the death of another, and must have been reckless. An individual must act without due regard for a high risk of injury to another to be reckless under N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5 and N.J.S.A. 39:4-96.

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