You know that texting and driving is not a good idea, but you still picked up your phone when you heard that faint “ping” from your text. It was just something you did automatically, without even thinking.
You only looked away from the road for a second — but you got into a wreck and somebody died. Now, you’re facing homicide charges. What just happened?
What is homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle?
With this form of homicide, Wisconsin law permits the police to charge anybody who causes the death of another person (including an unborn child) through the negligent operation of a vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you blew through a red light, were texting on your phone, drowsy driving or something else.
The charge is a Class G felony, which means a conviction can bring up to $25,000 in fines and imprisonment for up to 10 years, so you know that you need to take this situation seriously.
What should you do now?
Frankly, you need to start thinking about your defense immediately. With that in mind:
- Stay calm and be cooperative. You can’t gain anything by trying to fight, yelling or running. Nothing you can do or say will stop the arrest, so don’t try.
- Assert your right to remain silent. Clearly state your intention to exercise your Fourth Amendment rights and say as little as possible about anything until you’ve spoken to your attorney.
- Call an attorney. Before you do anything further, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your situation.
This is an awful time and it’s normal to be scared. Make sure that you listen closely to your attorney’s counsel from this moment forward.