›››The following content is an excerpt from a live interview with Richard Jacobs founder of my DUI Attorney dot org. The interview has been transcribed and contains information for educational purposes only. Please call Michael Munoz to get legal advice for your particular situation
Interviewer: I’ve heard of people racing their suped up cars on the streets. Does racing itself on the city streets, how reckless is that? What is that considered to be?
Munoz: Street racing while drunk and then if the result is that somebody dies, I have seen the state charge them as a second degree murder. I was a former prosecutor with Maricopa County attorney’s office and I actually handled cases where people were racing and somebody died. I saw one in Phoenix and one in Scottsdale and those were both charged as second degree murder. Second degree murder is really the highest vehicular offense that can be charged other than first degree murder and the only time you see a first degree murder is when somebody is committing a criminal act in a vehicle such as fleeing from police officers and then they end up killing somebody because of a car chase. That through the felony murder rule, and I’m getting kind of technical, can be applied to first degree murder, but you don’t see that very often.
…..And racing can be applied to second degree murder. The next step down from there is vehicular manslaughter. That is still a very serious offense. It’s essentially very similar to second degree murder except the state here only has to prove that a person recklessly killed another person in a motor vehicle. They usually do this through drunk driving that causes a death.
..Along with this, they have to prove that a person recklessly did it. Again, their best evidence is they’re going to try to show that through impairment by either alcohol or drugs you killed somebody and they’ll have to show that your conduct was reckless. Now they have to show more than that you were just impaired. They have to show that the impairment made you drive recklessly and that caused somebody’s death. Both of those offenses are dangerous offenses. I’ve talked about that in the past. Once something is a dangerous offense it’s automatic prison time if convicted, and you’re looking at a lot of prison time. In these cases, the dangerous instrument that is used, the state argues, is the motor vehicle. Because when it gets up to high speeds it’s very heavy and it’s considered a dangerous instrument.