What to Avoid If You Are Facing Vehicular Homicide or Manslaughter Charges
Interviewer: In relation to that, what are some things people do that may hurt their case?
Avoid Making Admissions of Guilt or Responsibility at the Scene of the Accident
Paul Cramm: I think it’s very common for people involved in any accident, whether or not there is loss of life to immediately step out and apologize to other drivers, say, “Oh I am so sorry.” In many cases, people will accept responsibility, “Oh, my gosh, this was my fault.”
Those statements can be very very difficult to control or deal with later on in the case. I think that statements of apology, acceptance of responsibility at the scene of the accident, those types of statements are extremely damaging to a person’s defense. Try to keep a cool head and try to remember that it’s going to take a lot of work to determine exactly what happened. It has yet to be determined who may or may not be at fault. Don’t be too quick to assume that you are the cause of the accident.
Avoid a Detailed Conversation with the Other Driver
Interviewer: In a situation where a person has allegedly committed such act, who should they talk to and who should they not talk to?
Paul Cramm: I would try to avoid having too detailed a dialogue with the other driver. Certainly it’s appropriate and reasonable to confirm who is or is not hurt, do we need to summon an ambulance, do we need emergency service, and let’s summon the police department.
It Is Advisable to Ask to Contact an Attorney before Making a Statement to the Police
At that point, I would not speak with the other driver in detail about the circumstances surrounding the accident. I would advise people to be cautious, speaking with law enforcement when they arrive to make their report. They are going to ask for a statement.
I think at that point, it would be wise to contact counsel or to tell law enforcement, I’m happy to make a statement about this accident, but I want to make sure I have a lawyer present when I make my statement about the accident.
It’s your constitutional right to consult with and speak with a lawyer before you make statements to law enforcement about the accident or the circumstances surrounding the accident.
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