Manslaughter is a criminal charge that results from the negligent death of someone while you are behind the wheel of a vehicle. You can be charged with manslaughter when someone dies as a result of a vehicle accident. Vehicular manslaughter can be either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Manslaughter charges may occur when you hit and kill a pedestrian, when your own passenger dies as a result of a negligent crash, or someone in a vehicle you hit died due to injuries you caused by your negligent actions. The state charges each case based on the details and previous convictions.
The California Penal Code 192 provides details of the charges and penalties for vehicular manslaughter. In order to be found guilty, the prosecutor must prove all of the following facts:
- While you were driving, you committed an infraction or unlawful act. An infraction can be speeding, texting while driving or driving during commission of a crime, and more.
- The misdemeanor or infraction was dangerous to human life. Many traffic infractions are inherently dangerous. For instance, driving over the speed limit is unsafe.
- You exhibited negligence in your action. Negligence means that you knew or should have known that your action could cause harm to another.
- The infraction caused the death of another person. The other party may be a pedestrian, passenger, or other person hurt by your negligence.
- To convict you of vehicular manslaughter, the prosecutor must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending on case factors, the prosecutor may charge the crime as a misdemeanor or felony.
A misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter conviction could result in up to a year in jail. A felony vehicular manslaughter conviction could result in penalties of up to six years in prison. In addition to imprisonment, your driver’s license could be suspended. Penalties could be higher if you have previous convictions. Your attorney will work to reduce charges and penalties in your case.
Vehicular manslaughter charges are serious and if you are convicted you could suffer harsh consequences. It is critical to hire a criminal defense attorney quickly after the accident to prevent loss of evidence that could be crucial to your defense.
- Vehicular manslaughter is part of the California three strikes law (Penal Code Section 667). This law states that punishments for felony crimes are enhanced for those who have had previous convictions.
- The penalties for manslaughter double for someone convicted of a second strike felony offense. The penalties for a third strike include a prison sentence of 25 years to life.
- The DMV can suspend your driver’s license if you are convicted of vehicular manslaughter. Your attorney may help try to reduce charges from felony to misdemeanor if the facts warrant.
If you or a loved one is facing manslaughter charges, call our firm today. We are here to listen. We are here to help, and we can help you fight for your future. Give us a call today.
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The Law Offices of David Lehr provides legal representation to individuals facing felony charges of vehicular manslaughter in Ventura, Oxnard, and Camarillo, California. No attorney or law firm can make any promises or guarantee an outcome for your criminal case. The contents presented on this site are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Visiting this website does not establish an attorney/client relationship.
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