So, You Forgot to Take Your Medicine: Could You Face Charges if an Accident Occurs?
In 2015, a 57-year-old man in New York lost control of his car while he was driving on Halloween night. The man allegedly caused a motor vehicle accident that resulted in the tragic death of three trick-or-treaters. A 65-year-old man, his 10-year-old-grandson and a 24-year-old women were all victims of the auto accident that occurred when the driver lost control of his vehicle. The driver reportedly put his foot on the accelerator as he lost control of the car, which vaulted his car onto a crowded sidewalk and into the trick-or-treaters.
Because of the accident, the man is facing three counts of criminally negligent homicide and three counts of second-degree manslaughter. These are very serious charges, and anyone who faces accusations of crimes like this should consult with Schenectady criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible to determine how best to respond to a potentially life-changing criminal prosecution.
While charges of manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide are common after auto accidents, this case is a unique one because of the way in which the accident happened. Unlike many circumstances where similar charges are brought (such as when a driver is drunk), in this case, the man is being accused of a crime for not taking drugs.
Can You Be Charged for Not Taking Medication?
The New York Daily News reported on the tragic Halloween accident and on the charges against the 57-year-old New York driver. The driver is being accused of negligent homicide or manslaughter as a result of not taking his epilepsy medicine. He had been diagnosed with epilepsy back in the 1980s and has been on medication ever since to treat the condition and prevent seizures.
However, for between two and three days prior to the time of the accident occurring, it is believed he had not taken the drugs he was prescribed. The investigators who were evaluating how the crash happened had taken a blood sample of the driver and determined that there was less than the prescribed amount of medication in his system when the accident happened. His failure to take the medication is significant because investigators believe that he had a seizure which led to the crash. When he had the seizure, this caused him to slam on the accelerator and send his car out of control at 60 miles an hour.
The man’s defense is that he did take his medication and he had the seizure anyway. If this is not true, however, it is possible that he could be considered negligent for driving when he was aware of the strong possibility of a seizure due to being off the medication. The prosecutor would have to prove his conduct was so reckless as to constitute a criminal act that should result in conviction.
While this case is unusual, it is very common for prosecutors to try to hold motorists criminally responsible for car accidents. If that happens to you and you are being charged, you need to contact The Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC as soon as possible to find out what legal options are available to you.