Can Texting and Driving Lead to a Murder Charge?

Categories: Criminal Defense

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Colorado Attorney Defending against Charges of Vehicular Manslaughter

More states are implementing harsher punishments for distracted driving, especially when that distraction is texting while driving. Texting while driving, just like drinking and driving, is a grossly negligent act. It can lead to devastating accidents, injuries, and sometimes death.

However, if you were to cause an accident because of your texting and driving, you may face homicide charges for your actions.

The state of Colorado does have a distracted driving ordinance. Fines can range from a few hundred dollars for a distracted driving offense, but that is without an accident and without any injuries or deaths as a result. If you were to cause an accident, the penalties for texting and driving could increase significantly.

The Law Regarding Texting and Driving

In 2009, the state passed a law that placed a strict ban on cellphone use for anyone under the age of 18 while driving. Cellphones are allowed in emergencies, but all drivers (including those over the age of 18), are not allowed to text, email, or use social media while driving (House Bill 09-1094, 2009).

In Colorado, there are three laws that cover accidental deaths. These include areas like causing a death due to negligence, assisted suicide, and vehicular manslaughter while engaging in poor behavior (such as texting while driving).

Vehicular Homicide is Likely

If you were involved in an accident and accidentally killed a pedestrian, cyclist, passenger, or other driver because you were texting and driving, you might face a felony charge. Vehicular manslaughter is a Class 4 felony, which encompasses other forms of reckless driving. It might be increased to a Class 3 felony if alcohol or drugs were also involved.

If convicted, you could face:

  • Two to four years of imprisonment
  • Three years of parole

Once the charge is escalated to a Class 3 felony, then you can expect four to 12 years of incarceration and up to five years parole after your release.

Civil Penalties Could Follow

If you are convicted or adjudicated, you could still face civil penalties in addition to criminal penalties. If negligence is established, the victim’s surviving family members could seek compensation for their loved one’s pain, suffering, funeral/burial costs, lost future wages, and more.

Avoid the Harsh Consequences – Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

Not texting and driving is your best defense from facing vehicular manslaughter. However, if you did text and drive and you were involved in a fatal accident, you need to contact an attorney immediately. Lawmakers use distracted drivers as an example, which means that you could face harsher penalties just to prove a point to the public. To avoid this, schedule your free consultation now with Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C. You can schedule your appointment at 970-704-0888 or by filling out our contact form.

Mark Rubinstein

Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein has been practicing law for more than 30 years, including 25 years in Colorado. He founded Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., in Carbondale after working for law firms in Denver and earlier in his career in San Diego. He focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury representation, and he is well known throughout western Colorado as an effective and unwavering advocate for his clients.