#ABKLaw BLOG by Michael Jaccarino: What is Vehicular Manslaughter in the First and Second Degree?


What is Vehicular Manslaughter in the First and Second Degree?

New York State law, and especially New York City laws, are tough on those caught drinking and driving.  Even a first-time offender could be facing jail time. But if a person driving while intoxicated causes the death of another, the crimes charged are incredibly more serious, and the prosecutor will absolutely be looking for jail time under the charge of vehicular manslaughter.

In New York, depending on the circumstances, the driver can be charged with first-degree, second-degree or aggravated vehicular manslaughter, with a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in state prison.

Under section 125.12 of the New York State Penal Law, the court will find a person guilty of vehicular manslaughter in the second degree, a Class D Felony, if the prosecution can establish beyond a reasonable doubt that they caused the death of another person and they operated the motor vehicle while under the influence with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, or by the combined influence of drugs and alcohol.  

Vehicular manslaughter in the first degree is a Class C Felony under Section 125.13 of the New York State Penal Law.  The elements are met when the person commits the crime of vehicular manslaughter in the second degree and they either have a blood alcohol content of .18 or above, they have a suspended driver license, or they had a previous DWI conviction within the preceding 10 years.

Drivers charged with such a crime face up to 25 years in prison.

However, the consequences of a vehicular manslaughter conviction do not end there, as the family of the person killed may pursue the defendant in a civil lawsuit for large amounts of money.

If you are charged with one of these crimes, it is incredibly important to consult with an experience New York City criminal defense lawyer.  The lawyers at Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins have decades of experience successfully defending clients against these charges, and have been successful, in some circumstances, in keeping our clients out of jail or having the charges drastically reduced. How? Our experience is that no criminal case is the same, and no prosecution is immune from a strong defense.  Depending on the case, defense strategies may include filing motions to suppress evidence because the defendant’s constitutional rights were violated, challenging the results of the blood tests of breath tests, proving that the driving was not the cause, or the sole cause, of the accident, or challenging the accusation of intoxication. In order to convict a defendant of vehicular manslaughter, it is not enough to prove that someone died in a car accident.  The prosecution must also prove causation, and that the driver’s intoxicated driving was the cause of the victim’s death.  Contact the criminal defense lawyers at Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins today to discuss your particular case.



At Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, our criminal defense lawyers have a wealth of experience in both Federal and State Court, and have defended some of the most high profile cases in the country.  Contact us today if you or someone you know is facing criminal charges of any kind.

Michael Jaccarino, and the criminal defense attorneys at Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, PC, have decades of experience. 

For more information or more fact-specific discussions, call our office and ask to speak with attorney Michael Jaccarino.


Our attorneys are in the New York City courthouses every day, experiencing the system in real time, and using the experiences to the benefit of our clients. Stay tuned to Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins for regular information on criminal justice, and how it could affect you or someone you know who has been arrested.

Call our office to learn more, or if you have a particular legal matter that requires immediate attention: 212-486-0011 or email us at Info@AidalaLaw.com