In New Mexico, a person can be convicted of “vehicular homicide” (sometimes called “vehicular manslaughter”) for causing the death of another person by operating a vehicle while:
Under the influence. For purposes of New Mexico’s vehicular homicide laws, a motorist is “under the influence” if incapable of safely driving a vehicle.
Causation. A driver can be convicted of vehicular homicide only if there’s proof that the driver was a legal cause of the death. It’s not enough to merely show the defendant drove recklessly or while under the influence and someone died—there needs to be a significant link between the driving and the death.
(N.M. Stat. Ann. § 66-8-101 (2017); State v. Munoz, 126 N.M. 371 (1998).)
The consequences of a vehicular homicide conviction depend on the circumstances. But generally, the possible penalties are:
(N.M. Stat. Ann. § 31-18-15 (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 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.
Vehicular homicide is a serious crime in New Mexico. 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 and help you decide on the best course of action.