Can Texting While Driving Lead to a Murder Charge?

Any person who texts while driving will end up not paying full attention to what is on the road. This in turn can cause an accident to occur and, in some of the worst cases, it may be one that can kill another person. The potential for a murder charge to be filed is unlikely but damages may be increased due to the nature of the accident and how this could have been prevented with the use of simple discretion on the texting driver’s end.

A Felony Is Possible

While a case where someone texts while driving may not be interpreted as murder in the state of Nevada, if the incident leads to someone’s death, it can be charged as a felony. A precedent was set in a 2001 case where a Las Vegas driver was talking on her phone and was speeding while going through a red light. This led to a wreck causing the deaths of two people. The charge led to three felony counts of reckless driving plus two felony counts of involuntary manslaughter. These charges carried a combined potential punishment of more than 20 years in prison.

An action that involves being distracted while driving is typically not intentional, thus keeping the event from becoming a murder case. Still, the fact that a person was engaging in an action that directly contributed to the accident is a critical point that can cause a person to be punished.

Nevada Has Specific Phone Laws

Nevada has a law that was imposed in 2012 stating that hand-held phone use and texting while driving are both illegal within the state. Monetary fines are imposed on all instances where someone texts while driving. Also, a second offense or any other offense beyond that will be treated as a moving violation. As a result, there is a stronger potential for a criminal charge as a result of a person engaging in this particular act. The charges may especially be higher in the event that the person has engaged in harmful phone-related acts more than once.

Added Awards Are Possible

Most times when a driver is engaged in texting while driving, they may be seen as acting recklessly. This can result in punitive damages, as there is a clear belief that the accident that was caused could have been easily prevented.

Is This Tested?

The greatest concern with texting while driving cases is that not all attorneys are fully experienced with this concept. This is due to the idea of text messaging being so new in Nevada state law. Some jurisdictions may not have experienced cases involving text messaging wrecks that are fatal. As a result, an attorney will often be responsible for trying to find a way to get a case to be run in a certain way. A judge may also be forced into using his or her own discretion for figuring out what particular punishment should be given as a result of the case.

The potential for texting to lead to a murder charge in Nevada is not necessarily all that likely. Still, the fact that a death can occur as a result of recklessness can cause the punishment to be significant.

Bighorn Staff

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