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STATE v. HENDRICKS — NEW JERSEY MURDER TRIAL — "NOT GUILTY" VERDICT

Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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Driver allegedly under the influence kills person on Garden State

Recently, a driver on the Garden State Parkway allegedly struck a group of people attempting to help push a stranded motorist off the road. The injured individuals were taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where one of them succumbed to his injuries. The driver of the car that struck them was arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled and dangerous substance as well as causing death/injury while driving unlicensed.

Vehicular homicide, like most violent crime charges, has very serious consequences. In New Jersey, a charge of vehicular homicide can be a first or second degree felony, which can carry up to 10 or 20 year prison sentences. Aggravating factors could include whether the driver was under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance at the time of the accident. Such factors may lead to longer sentences and further criminal charges. All felony convictions carry the possibility of losing other essential rights, such as the right to vote, even after any prison term is concluded.

Given the serious consequences that can result from a conviction of vehicular homicide, it is essential that individuals faced with such charges mount a defense to attempt to avoid or lessen the penalties for conviction. The state always has the burden of proof in criminal cases, and in cases involving vehicular homicide and driving under the influence, the state must show both that the defendant was under the influence or drugs or alcohol and that the actions were reckless. Urine, blood or breath tests can be analyzed by forensic chemists, and a professional accident reconstruction can be performed in order to cast doubt on the culpability of the defendant. Ultimately, it is important for those facing a serious vehicular charge to remember that there are resources available for their defense.

Source: NBC10 Philadelphia, “Good Samaritan Struck, Killed by DUI Driver: Police,” David Chang, March 17, 2013

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