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What is the difference between a felony and misdemeanor death by vehicle?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2021 | Criminal Defense

The most catastrophic motor vehicle accidents involve the death of another person. If you were at fault in an accident that caused another individual’s death, you could face death by vehicle charges.

According to North Carolina law, there are two versions of the charges, misdemeanor and felony. The following explains the difference between the charges.

Misdemeanor death by vehicle

If you face misdemeanor charges, this means that the law determined that you unintentionally caused the death of another person while violating a local ordinance or state law. For example, the following violations may result in death by vehicle charge:

  • Failing to stop
  • Failing to yield
  • Speeding violations

To be charged with death by vehicle, the violation must be the cause of the other person’s death.

Felony death by vehicle

The more serious charge of felony death by vehicle occurs if you happened to be impaired at the time of the accident. For example, if you drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol and cause the death of another individual in an accident, you could face charges of felony death by vehicle.

If the state determines you intentionally caused the death of another person, you may face aggravated death by vehicle charges. Additionally, if you have impaired driving offenses that date back less than seven years, you could face felony death by vehicle charges.

When it comes to death by vehicle charges, you cannot face manslaughter charges for the same death. Likewise, if you face manslaughter charges, the state cannot bring death by vehicle charges against you for the same incident.