After a fatal car accident, all of the focus will be on remembering the person who died. The grieving of the victim's family members and friends will also be an important concern. However, another person is usually suffering just as much as everyone else: the individual who received the blame for causing the accident.
Not only does the person faulted for the accident face a lot of pain and anguish over being involved in a crash that ended someone's life, but this person could also face criminal charges. Depending on the situation and events surrounding the fatal accident, a negligent homicide charge is serious, and a conviction could result in years behind bars.
Possible defenses against negligent homicide
To convict a defendant of negligent homicide, prosecutors do not have to prove intent or malice. Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant's actions resulted in a death.
- Those actions were done recklessly and dangerously.
- The defendant should have known better - and his or her actions clearly threatened the life of the victim.
In defending against a negligent homicide charge, a New Hampshire defense lawyer will try to cast doubt on the above points. Casting doubt on only one of the above could be enough to prevent a conviction from occurring. Here are a few defenses that an attorney might use to achieve this goal:
- Self-defense: This may apply to situations where the defendant reasonably needed to protect him- or herself from death or harm. The defendant will probably need to show that he or she did not use excessive force.
- An accident: Yes, innocent accidents do happen, and sometimes they have tragic and fatal results. This defense will attempt to show that the defendant did not act negligently, irresponsibly or recklessly and the death happened by pure accident.
- Insufficient evidence: The prosecution will be under the burden of proof. In order for a conviction to occur, the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense lawyer may try to weaken the prosecution's position by showing that certain evidence is inadmissible or inaccurate. Interviews with witnesses may also serve to show that certain evidence is not accurate, or that there is not enough evidence for a conviction to take place.
- False accusation: It is not uncommon for police to make a mistake and arrest the wrong person following a fatal accident. The prosecution might have the wrong person for any number of reasons. Perhaps the defendant was not even present when the fatal accident happened and the at-fault person is a different individual.
Get help with your negligent homicide defense
Negligent homicide charges are serious because if a conviction occurs, the defendant could spend years in prison. For this reason, those accused of negligent homicide may want to consider hiring an experienced and knowledgeable New Hampshire violent crimes defense attorney to help them protect their rights in court.