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Jan 03

Vehicular Homicide – Manslaughter Cases – by Denver Vehicular Manslaughter Attorney | Colorado Lawyer for Auto Homicide – H. Michael Steinberg

Josh Brent a well known and well respected professional football player with Dallas Cowboys was indicted last month under the Texas version of Vehicular Homicide – known in Texas as….

Vehicular Homicide – Manslaughter – “Intoxication Manslaugter.”

Unlike other kinds of crimes – this crime brings with it a much easier evidentiary burden of proof when – or if – the case makes its way to a jury trial.

Vehicular Homicide - Manslaughter

Vehicular Homicide – Manslaughter

The death of his Brent’s friend – Jerry Brown – the victim and passenger in Brent’s Mercedes occurred – (the prosecution will argue) – as a result of the combination of Brent’s high speed, consumption of alcohol and the resulting collision with a curb which flipped Brent’s car over killing Brown.

Vehicular Homicide – Manslaughter – Aggravating Factors

Furthermore, driving on a suspended license (LINK) and having been convicted of DUI in the recent past are considered aggravating factors which will, unfortunately motivate the prosecutor and the media to hype the importance of “sending a message” to the public in this high profile situation.

Vehicular Homicide – Manslaughter – A Different Kind of Mental State

In Texas, as in Colorado and most states, Vehicular Homicide – Manslaughter is not like premeditated murder which requires an intent to kill. The crime of vehicular homicide is based either on a voluntary but reckless act of driving that leads to another person’s death or based on the voluntarily drinking of alcohol or the taking of drugs which terminates in a fatal accident.

In Texas prosecutors may also charge Brent with the more severe crime of second degree murder… a crime that is charged in Texas when the unintended killing is the result of gross recklessness.

Vehicular Homicide – Manslaughter – The Importance of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) – .189

As in all 50 states – a blood alcohol test was administered after the crash – the result was .180 – more than double the DUI presumptive limit of .08.

H. Michael’s Take

Colorado Vehicular Assault – Vehicular Homicide Charges and Prosecutions

In Colorado – Vehicular Homicide is a class 3 felony bringing with it a possible sentence of up to 12 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. In Texas – the same crime carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

With strict liability as the mental state underlying the crime – unless there is an intervening cause of the accident which caused the accident – Brent will find it very difficult to escape a verdict of guilty if he goes to trial. Reconstruction of the accident is reported to show that Brent was speeding and failed to drive in a single lane – “steered to the left, then back to the right overcorrecting causing [the car] to slide out of control into the north (right) curb, slide into the north (right) ditch, overturn, slid on the roof back onto the roadway and come to rest in the center lane on its roof.”

He also took – and of course -failed the roadside sobriety tests.

The Conditions Of Bond – Vehicular Homicide Cases

While out on a $100,000.00 bond – consistent with other states – Brent will not allowed to drink any alcohol – will be forced to wear a SCRAM — a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor — on his ankle and will be supervised by pretrial services.

Vehicular Homicide – Manslaughter – The Trial

In Texas, a person is guilty of the crime of Intoxication Manslaughter if he or she operates a motor vehicle in a public place,….and is intoxicated, and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake (not intentionally).

At the trial on these charges the questions that will need to be proven for a guilty verdict are:

(1) a death occurred;

(2) the death resulted from the operation of a vehicle by the defendant;


(3) that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol to the extent her normal faculties were impaired, or she had a blood alcohol level at or above the state’s legal limitat the time she operated the vehicle.

Vehicular Homicide – Manslaughter

If you feel you need his representation and have the need to discuss your case right now with H. Michael please call his cell (720) 220-2277, otherwise call his office during normal business hours, or fill out the Contact form on this site. From his centralized and easy to find office just off I-25 and Arapahoe Road (the Denver Tech Center) Denver, Colorado, he represent clients throughout the Front Range of the State of Colorado.

For aggressive representation and sound legal counsel, contact H. Michael Steinberg. Please fill out the short intake form or call us at (303) 627-7777 to discuss your Colorado Vehicular Homicide – Manslaughter case.

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