Vehicular homicide in Louisiana: what every driver should know
Under Louisiana law, anyone who causes or contributes to the death of another person while operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be charged with vehicular homicide. A driver can be charged with vehicular homicide in Louisiana even if he or she had no intention of injuring or killing the victim.
Vehicular homicide – alcohol
In Louisiana, the law provides that a driver who causes a fatal crash can be charged with vehicular homicide if he or she is under the influence of alcoholic beverages. This includes drivers whose blood alcohol concentration levels measure 0.08 percent or above, as well as those who are otherwise determined to be under the influence of alcohol.
Similarly, vehicular homicide charges can apply to Louisiana drivers who are under the influence of alcohol combined with other prescription or non-prescription medications, even if their BAC levels are below 0.08.
Vehicular homicide – drugs
Louisiana drivers can also be charged with vehicular homicide for causing a fatal crash while under the influence of drugs – whether legal or illegal, prescription or non-prescription.
Under Louisiana law, drug-related vehicular homicide charges can be imposed on a driver who causes a fatal crash under the following circumstances:
- He or she is under the influence of a Schedule I, II, III, IV or V controlled substance.
- There is any detectable level of a Schedule I, II, III or IV controlled substance or a metabolite thereof in the driver’s bloodstream, unless it has been prescribed or medically ordered.
- The driver is under the influence of one or more legally obtainable prescription or non-prescription drugs as a result of knowingly exceeding the prescribed or recommended dosage of those drugs.
In addition, vehicular homicide charges may apply if a Louisiana driver is involved in a fatal crash while under the combined influence of alcohol any legally obtainable drug, prescription or otherwise.
Penalties for vehicular homicide in Louisiana
Drivers charged with vehicular homicide in Louisiana can face severe penalties if they are convicted, including fines of up to $15,000 and five to 30 years in prison. In addition, Louisiana statute provides that at least three years of the driver’s prison term must be imposed without the option of probation, parole or suspended sentencing.
Under certain circumstances, for instance if the driver’s BAC level was 0.15 or higher, or if the driver has previously been convicted of a drunk driving offense, Louisiana law requires that he or she serve at least five years of the prison sentence without the benefit of probation, parole or suspended sentencing.
Call a lawyer if arrested
If you or someone close to you is charged with vehicular homicide or any other intoxicated driving offense in Louisiana, you can help protect your rights and legal options by contacting an experienced criminal defense lawyer. A skilled defense lawyer will advise you of your options and will work hard to negotiate on your behalf for a favorable resolution to the charges.