Car accidents happen all the time, and sometimes the results are tragic.
Unfortuantely, if you’re involved in a car wreck where someone dies, the state of Wisconsin may charge you with homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle. That’s an awful position to be in, and you need to understand a few things about your situation.
You can be charged for the death of anybody involved
According to the statute, anybody who “causes the death of another human being by the negligent operation or handling of a vehicle” can be held criminally liable for the death. This applies to other drivers, their passengers, your passengers, pedestrians and unborn children.
You could face additional charges
If you’re found to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time of the wreck, you could face other charges — like drunk driving. If your children are in the car at the time, you could also be charged with child endangerment. That could cause the prosecutor to stack one charge on top of another.
A conviction for vehicular homicide is a Class G felony
Aside from having a felony record for the rest of your life, you could be facing up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine — and that’s on top of any civil penalties your face from a lawsuit.
Few people expect that a car wreck could turn into a homicide charge — but it happens more often than you might expect. If you’re involved in a car crash that turns fatal, take heed: Exercise your right to remain silent until you can begin to work on your defense.