North Carolina defines “felony death-by-vehicle” as unintentionally causing the death of another person while in violation of the state’s DWI (driving while impaired) laws. “Misdemeanor death-by-vehicle,” on the other hand, involves causing the death of another person while committing a traffic violation other than DWI, such as texting-while-driving, speeding, or reckless driving.
Impairment. North Carolina law defines “impairment” as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, having any amount of a Schedule 1 controlled substance in the body, or being appreciably impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Causation. A motorist can’t be convicted of death-by-vehicle unless there’s proof that the motorist’s impairment or traffic violation was a legal cause of the death. In other words, there needs to be a direct link between the defendant’s unlawful driving and the death.
The consequences of a death-by-vehicle conviction depend on the circumstances. But generally, the possible penalties are:
All motorists convicted of death-by-vehicle face license revocation for at least a year.
Death-by-vehicle is a serious criminal charge. If you’ve been arrested for death-by-vehicle—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.