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Vehicular Homicide and Involuntary Manslaughter Defense

Aggressive Defense of Vehicular Homicide and Involuntary Manslaughter Charges

If you or a family member has been charged with causing an auto fatality, you need the best legal representation available. I am Paul Cramm, a Johnson County, Kansas criminal defense lawyerwith experience in defending vehicular death and involuntary manslaughter cases.

When a person dies in an auto-related accident, the victim’s family and the community are likely to be overcome with feelings of grief, outrage, and retribution. The police and prosecutors are also eager to assign blame and to attribute the tragedy to the reckless behavior of a single individual, rather than the inability of law enforcement to prevent the accident. You need an attorney who will protect your rights aggressively and ensure that you are treated fairly by the judicial. Contact Paul D. Cramm, Chtd. to arrange a free initial consultation.

Serious Charges Require Serious Representation

As a criminal defense attorney with experience handling vehicular homicide and involuntary manslaughter cases, I will review every detail of your case. My vigorous defense includes an investigation of every facet of the circumstances of the fatal accident. I employ the assistance of nationally recognized accident reconstruction experts and forensic toxicologists to assist in your defense. You will always receive my honest assessment of the facts of your case – both favorable and damaging. We will discuss all available strategies, from seeking an agreement with the prosecutor to plead guilty to a lesser charge or to reduce the penalties you face to challenging the sufficiency of the evidence in your case at trial.

Although the District Court of Johnson County, Kansas is located in Olathe, Johnson County District Court has exclusive jurisdiciton over State Felony Offenses committed in the cities within Johnson County, including DeSoto, Gardner, Leawood, Lenexa. Mission, Merriam, Olathe, Overland Park, and Prairie Village.  Each of these cities may elect to prosecute certain misdemeanr offenses occurring within their city limits, but Municipal Courts do not have jurisdiction over felony matters.

  • Criminal vehicular homicide is a Class A misdemeanor in Kansas, punishable by up to 12 months in jail. Vehicular homicide is the unintentional killing of another that results from the operation of a motor vehicle “in a manner which creates an unreasonable risk of injury” and constitutes a “material deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would observe under the same circumstances.” The victim might be an occupant of the other car, a passenger in your car, or a pedestrian.
  • Involuntary manslaughter is a Level 5 felony charge in Kansas – or a more serious Level 4 felony charge if drugs or alcohol were involved (see below) – carrying a minimum of 31 months in prison (2 ½ years) up to a sentence of 136 months (11 years). This charge requires a showing by the prosecution of reckless disregard for the safety of others. This charge will always apply where the responsible driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The more serious felony charges do not result from simple negligence (such as inattentive driving) that leads to a death. In order to proceed with felony charges, the prosecution must show that there was reckless conduct. In other words, the prosecutor must be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the driver had reason to know the behavior was dangerous or appreciated the danger and proceeded anyway. Examples include drag racing, “road rage” confrontations, intentionally running a traffic signal, or driving while under the influence of alcohol.

DUI-Related Deaths

If the driver is found to have been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, the charge is a Level 4 felony offense in Kansas and the presumptive sentence is prison. Without a formal Dispositional Departure from the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines, the driver faces a term of custody in prison. In cases of involuntary manslaughter while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is critical to challenge all allegations of chemical influence. If it is possible to defeat the DUI portion of the case, the vehicular death may be reduced to a Severity Level 5 offense, in which case there is some opportunity for probation in lieu of jail time. There is also the very real possibility that without evidence of chemical influence to serve as the “aggravating” factor in the case, the charge may be a simple misdemeanor. Additionally, it may be that the accident would have been entirely unavoidable – regardless of drug or alcohol impairment.  For instance, a driver may have taken a prescription known to cause drowsiness prior to driving and a small child chases a ball unexpectedly into the street such that no driver could have physically avoided the accident – with or without the medication.  These are extremely serious cases that almost certainly require persuasive expert testimony from a toxicologist, a pharmacologist, a pathologist and/or an accident reconstructionist.

Facing Manslaughter or Homicide Charges?

 

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