Motor Vehicle Homicide

Motor vehicle homicide, formerly known as vehicular manslaughter, is a crime under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24G. Motor vehicle homicide can be a felony (§ 24G(a)) or a misdemeanor (§ 24G(b)).

To convict a defendant of felony motor vehicle homicide, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  1. Operated a motor vehicle;

  2. On a way, in a place where the public has a right of access, or in some place where members of the public have access as licensees or invitees;

  3. While under the influence of drugs, liquor or glue;

  4. In a manner that was reckless or negligent; and

  5. Caused the death of another person.

To convict a defendant of misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  1. Operated a motor vehicle;

  2. On a way, in a place where the public has a right of access, or in some place where members of the public have access as licensees or invitees;

  3. EITHER while under the influence of drugs, liquor or glue OR recklessly or negligently; and

  4. Caused the death of another person.

As one can see from these elements, the critical distinction between felony motor vehicle homicide and misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide is that for the former, both recklessness or negligence and operating under the influence must be proven, whereas the latter only requires either recklessness or negligence or operating under the influence.

Punishment

A conviction under § 24G(a) carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 2.5 years in the state prison or 1 year in a jail or house of correction. The sentence could reach up to 15 years. A conviction under § 24G(b) carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days in a jail or house of correction or a $300 fine, and one could face up to 2.5 years and/or a fine of up to $3000.

Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crimes Defense Attorney: 617–973–5858

If you have been charged with motor vehicle homicide or any crime in Massachusetts, call Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. Attorney Wheeler is a highly experienced and talented professional who will work aggressively to defend you. He has successfully handled countless motor vehicle crimes cases over the course of 30 years in criminal defense practice. To reach the Law Office of Robert J. Wheeler, Jr., call 617–973–5858 or send an e–mail.