Vehicular Homicide Attorney in Phoenix, AZ

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Phoenix Vehicular Homicide Criminal Defense Attorney

Vehicular homicide occurs when the illegal operation of a vehicle by one person causes the death of another. This can involve drunk driving, reckless driving, negligence, or speeding. 

Arizona is one of only a few states that do not have separate laws or penalties for homicides involving a vehicle. What this means is that in a vehicular homicide case, there is no differentiation from other types of homicide; the only difference is that a motor vehicle is being used as a weapon, as opposed to a gun or a knife. 

Those charged with vehicular homicide in Arizona can be tried under Arizona’s general homicide laws, and their charges depend entirely on the specific facts of their case. Belen Olmedo Guerra understands how stressful and scary being faced with such steep consequences can be, and how important discretion and precision are when crafting a defense against these charges.

If you have been charged with or are suspected of vehicular homicide, whatever your circumstances, it is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.  

Belén Olmedo Guerra is known for providing aggressive defense representation for her clients throughout Phoenix. She has successfully handled a number of high-profile cases. 

Penalties for Vehicular Homicide in Phoenix

Homicide always involves the unlawful death of one person at the hands of another, but the difference between the three types of homicide, and their corresponding penalties depends on the mindset of the defendant in Arizona. There are three different types of homicide motorists involved in vehicle-related homicides can be charged with:

Negligent Homicide

A motorist may be charged with negligent homicide because they were driving in a criminally negligent manner when they caused the death of another person. 

Criminal negligence occurs when a person unknowingly does or fails to do something that puts others in substantial and unjustifiable danger. The motorist in question is not aware of the danger they are placing others.

Negligent homicide is a class 4 felony. Penalties could include:

  • One to three years in prison, and 
  • Up to $150,000 in fines


Vehicular manslaughter is only subtly different from negligent homicide involving a vehicle. Motorists can be charged with vehicular manslaughter when their “reckless” driving causes the death of another person. Driving “recklessly” requires that the motorist does or fails to do something that puts others in danger and that the motorist is aware that their conduct creates this danger. 

This category encompasses a large part of vehicular homicides. Manslaughter, vehicular or not, is a class 2 felony. Penalties can include:

  • Three to twelve years in prison, and
  • Up to $150,000 in fines

Second-degree Murder

There is a subtle difference between negligent homicide and manslaughter, and an equally subtle difference between manslaughter and second-degree murder. A motorist convicted of second-degree murder has engaged in reckless conduct that creates a grave risk of death to another person.

This is a class 1 felony. The penalties are severe, and could include:

  • 10 to 25 years in prison, and
  • Up to $150,000 in fines

However, if the person whose death the defendant caused was under 12 years old, the defendant could face life in prison.

For any driving-related homicide, a blood alcohol concentration of .15% or higher at the scene can lead to receiving a sentence on the upper end of the spectrum.

Why You Need Belen Olmedo Guerra As Your Defense Attorney

The subtle distinctions between these categories of vehicular homicide charges and the drastic escalation of consequences require an experienced criminal defense attorney to navigate. 

Belen Olmedo Guerra will fight for your rights and help you find your way through the disorienting court system and drive your case towards the best possible outcome for you. 

Call For a Free Initial Consultation

Contact the Belen Law Firm today to discuss your vehicular homicide charges. We offer free case evaluations and are available 24/7. You can reach us at 602.715.0908.

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