A 66-year-old man in Nevada reportedly drove his vehicle to the grocery store despite feeling as though he had a seizure coming on. The man had a seizure while he was driving and he caused a motor vehicle accident that killed two young children. A two-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl were both killed in the crash. Authorities believed that the driver involved should face criminal charges, and prosecutors pursued a case against him. However, ABC News indicates that the charges the man was facing have been dismissed.
Defendants who unintentionally cause car accidents need to understand their rights when they are facing either misdemeanor or felony criminal charges. Medical issues that arise behind the wheel can quickly cause a defendant to lose control, but those who drive and have an unexpected medical problem should not necessarily face the potential for jail time. A Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can provide representation to all motorists who have been accused of criminal offenses that led to car crashes, and can help motorists to explore all possible resolutions to charges with the goal of avoiding or minimizing incarceration.
The 66-year-old driver who has an ongoing condition that causes seizures has been involved in collisions in the past as a result of medical episodes. Six times since 2002, his driver’s license has been suspended. However, he was required to- and was able to- submit letters from a physician certifying he was able to drive.
His license was active and valid when he got into a car and tried to go to the grocery store, despite admitting he had felt a seizure coming on. As a result of his seizure, he caused the deadly car crash that killed two children. The County District Attorney initially thought about pursuing charges of felony reckless driving but ruled these charges out as a result of the fact it would be difficult to demonstrate the driver had a conscious disregard for safety.
Instead of felony charges, the prosecutor assigned to the case brought misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges against the motorist. These charges carry a potential penalty of six months of jail time and a maximum fine of $1,000. The sentences may run consecutively for each of the victims who were killed. In this case, the motorist was thus facing the potential for a year of imprisonment and a fine up to $2,000 for causing the two car accident deaths when he experienced his seizure.
The charges, however, have now been dismissed. The dismissal was made possible because the laws in the state of Nevada permit misdemeanor crimes to be settled outside of court, provided that the alleged criminal acts do not involve an offense related to domestic violence; do not involve a police officer; were not committed with the intent to commit a felony; and were not committed in a violent manner or an uncontrollable manner.
Because the defendant here was accused of misdemeanor offenses which did not fall into an exception to the law allowing out-of-court settlement, he was able to meet with the family of the victims to resolve the case. The specific terms of the settlement was not disclosed, but the prosecutor indicates he has no standing to challenge the settlement now that the petition was filed for it, accepted, and the case dismissed.
Any defendant accused of a misdemeanor offense should speak with a Las Vegas defense attorney to explore whether the possibility of an out-of-court settlement exists for his charges. Defendants who face criminal consequences for medical episodes when driving should also seek legal help to explore possible defenses and options to avoid going to jail.