Unlike many other states, Indiana doesn’t have a “vehicular homicide” statute that applies exclusively to driving-related unlawful killings. However, a motorist who causes the death of another person while driving recklessly can be charged with “reckless homicide.” And Indiana law imposes enhanced penalties for OWI (operating a vehicle while intoxicated) offenses that result in the death of another person.
Reckless homicide. A motorist can be convicted of reckless homicide for killing another person while driving in a reckless manner. Basically, a person acts with recklessness by engaging in conduct that involves “plain, conscious, and unjustifiable disregard of harm that might result and such conduct involves a substantial deviation from acceptable standards of conduct.” In other words, the person is aware of the dangerousness of the conduct but decides to do it anyway.
(Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-1-5 (2017); Nordstrom v. State, 627 N.E.2d 1380 (1994).)
Driving while intoxicated. For purposes of enhanced OWI penalties, intoxication is defined as having:
(Ind. Code Ann. § § 9-13-2-86, 9-30-5-5 (2017).)
The consequences of a driving-related killing depend on the circumstances. But generally, the possible penalties include:
(Ind. Code Ann. § § 35-42-1-5, 35-50-2-6, 35-50-2-5.5 (2017).)
HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU ACTUALLY SPEND IN JAIL?
Sentencing law is complex. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including credits for good in-custody behavior, “suspended” sentences, and jail-alternative work programs.
If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.
The consequences of killing another person while driving can be serious. If you’ve been arrested for a driving-related killing—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 and help you decide on the best plan of action.