New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently signed a piece of legislation establishing “strict liability vehicular homicide” for intoxicated drivers found to have caused a person’s death while driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in New Jersey.
The new law updates New Jersey’s vehicular homicide statutes to increase penalties for intoxicated drivers who cause another person’s death. The updated statutes apply to intoxicated drivers operating any type of motor vehicle in the State of New Jersey including cars, boats and motorcycles.
The newly signed legislation, known as “Ralph and David’s Law,” was initially proposed on May 12th, 2016, as Senate Bill No. 2423 and was referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee where it was passed on a 69-0-0 vote.
You can read more about the history of Ralph and David’s Law, as well as the legislation process, in one of our previous blog posts here.
The Governor signed the law into effect on Friday, July 21st, marking the end of a legislative process that lasted more than a year.
Ralph and David’s Law was named after Ralph Politi Jr. and David Heim who were killed in two separate incidents involving drunk drivers in New Jersey.
Ralph and David’s Law came about as a result of citizens and legislators who were unhappy with the sentencing of the drivers involved these two fatal DUI-related accidents.
The woman who was behind the wheel of the vehicle that struck and killed 49-year-old Ralph Politi Jr. in 2012 was ultimately convicted of driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and failure to maintain a lane. However, she was acquitted of the aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges that she faced. In the end, the woman was sentenced to a two-year license suspension, 30 days of community service and $733 in fines.
The man who was behind the wheel of the vehicle that struck and killed 13-year-old David Heim was convicted of drunk driving, but he only served 30 days in jail because that was the maximum sentence for a first-offense DUI conviction under New Jersey’s drunk driving laws at the time.
The law signed by Gov. Chris Christie establishes a new “strict liability vehicular homicide” that applies to all individuals who are found to have caused a person’s death while driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance in the State of New Jersey.
The third-degree strict liability vehicular homicide is punishable with a three-to-five year prison sentence and a fine of up to $15,000.
Were you or a loved one arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in New Jersey? If so, you may be facing a long list of penalties and expensive fines if convicted of the charges. Many drivers convicted of a first offense DUI charge face thousands of dollars in fines and fees, a license suspension and other serious consequences.
However, it is important to know that not all DUI arrests result lead to a DUI conviction with maximum charges and penalties. In fact, many DUI arrests are found to be inadequate due to illegal vehicle stops, and even inaccurate chemical test results.
That is why it is so important to hire an experienced DWI attorney if you or a loved one have been arrested on DUI charges in New Jersey.
At Levow DWI Law, P.C., our team of award-winning DUI defense attorneys have been successfully representing drivers arrested for suspicion of intoxicated driving in the State of New Jersey for decades. We’ve helped many clients arrested for driving under the influence to have their charges reduced or even completely dropped.
Contact Levow DWI Law, P.C. today for a free consultation with a highly qualified DWI defense lawyer to learn about all of your legal options. We will help you determine the best course of action based on the specific circumstances of your DUI arrest.