Colorado's Vehicular Homicide Laws and Penalties

When reckless driving or driving under the influence results in the death of another person, the driver can face felony vehicular homicide charges.

In Colorado, causing the death of another person while behind the wheel can lead to serious criminal charges. This article covers Colorado's vehicular homicide laws and the penalties you'll face for a conviction.

How Does Colorado Define Vehicular Homicide?

In Colorado, a motorist can be convicted of vehicular homicide (sometimes called "vehicular manslaughter") for causing the death of another person while driving:

In other words, there are two types of vehicular homicide.

How Colorado Law Defines "Under the Influence"

A driver is "under the influence" if "substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, of exercising clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle." Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and the amount of drugs in the driver's system are factors that can come into play for the judge or jury in deciding whether the driver was under the influence.

How Colorado Law Defines "Reckless Manner"

A motorist drives in a "reckless manner" by consciously disregarding a "substantial and unjustifiable risk." In other words, the motorist knows the driving is dangerous but does it anyway.

Colorado's Vehicular Homicide Penalties

The consequences of a vehicular homicide conviction depend on the circumstances. However, the possible penalties for the two types of vehicular homicide are described below.

Penalties for a DUI-Related Vehicular Homicide in Colorado

A vehicular homicide offense involving driving under the influence is a class 3 felony. A conviction generally carries four to 12 years in prison and $3,000 to $750,000 in fines.

Penalties for Vehicular Homicide Involving Reckless Driving in Colorado

A vehicular homicide offense involving reckless driving is a class 4 felony. Convicted drivers are typically looking at two to six years in prison and $2,000 to $500,000 in fines.

License Revocation for Vehicular Homicide Convictions in Colorado

For either type of vehicular homicide conviction, the motorist faces a minimum one-year license revocation.

Talk to a Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney

Vehicular homicide is a serious criminal charge that can result in a long prison sentence. If you've been arrested for vehicular homicide—or any other crime—get in contact with a criminal defense attorney right away. The facts of every case are different. An experienced defense attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case.

Defend your rights. We've helped 95 clients find attorneys today.
First Name is required
First Name is required
Talk to a Defense attorney
We've helped 95 clients find attorneys today.
There was a problem with the submission. Please refresh the page and try again
Full Name is required
Email is required
Please enter a valid Email
Phone Number is required
Please enter a valid Phone Number
Zip Code is required
Please add a valid Zip Code
Please enter a valid Case Description
Description is required

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you