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Des Moines Vehicular Homicide Attorney
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In Iowa, it is a class B felony when a person unintentionally causes the death of another person when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. In other words, this crime can happen by accident. Intoxication means having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more. It could also mean being under the influence while having any amount of controlled substance in your system or having a combination of both controlled substances and alcohol in your system. A person faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the crime. If convicted, the person will be required to take a class for drunk drivers. They will be required to complete a substance abuse evaluation and any recommended services. The person's license will be suspended for six years, and they will be ineligible to obtain a work permit for two years.
If you have been charged with vehicular homicide in Des Moines, consult with our criminal defense attorney at Feld Law Firm. We have extensive experience fighting to protect the rights of Iowa’s criminally accused. Our firm looks forward to hearing your story and discussing your legal options with you.
Intent in Vehicular Homicide Cases
What is interesting about a vehicular homicide charge is that no intent is needed to prove the person guilty of the class B felony. It should also be noted that the person is not eligible for a deferred judgment if convicted of this crime.
It is a class C felony if a person unintentionally causes the death of another person and is driving a motor vehicle in a reckless manner and with a willful and wanton disregard for others’ safety or property. It is prime evidence for the state that a person was driving in a reckless manner and with willful and wanton disregard for others’ safety or property if the person was using their cell phone to view, send, or write messages. This is known as the texting and driving statute.
If convicted of this crime, a person faces up to 10 years in prison and a $13,660 fine. This section does not apply to public safety officers while in the course of duty. It also does not apply to physicians responding to an emergency situation. This statute can be very hard for the State to prove as they must prove you were using your cell phone or other electronic device while driving. For this subsection, an "electronic message" means images visible on the screen of a hand-held electronic communication device including a text-based message, an instant message, a portion of electronic mail, an internet site, a social media application, or a game.
It is a class D felony if a person unintentionally causes the death of another person while drag racing. The person faces up to five years in prison and a $10,245 fine if convicted.
It is a class D felony if a person unintentionally causes serious injury of another person while operating a motor vehicle. Serious injury is defined as causing mental illness in another person or as causing bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death, causes permanent disfigurement, causes impairment of a body part or organ, or causes injury to a child that requires surgery. The person is not eligible for a deferred judgment if convicted of this crime while intoxicated.
Retain Capable Legal Defense
If you are charged with any form of vehicular homicide, it is a good idea to speak to and retain a Des Moines vehicular homicide defense attorney to explore your charges moving forward in your case. In most cases involving death, the county attorney usually has pressure to prosecute the matter to the fullest. Your employment, family, financial resources, and life are usually at stake with charges like this. Simply put, you have a lot on the line. Get someone who will fight for you from the beginning.
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Polk County Simple Misdemeanors Starting as low as $1000