By definition, vehicular manslaughter is defined as “the crime of causing a death of a human being due to illegal driving of an automobile, including gross negligence, drunk driving, reckless driving or speeding.” In the state of California, vehicular manslaughter can be specified as either a misdemeanor or a felony dependent upon the specifications of the case. According to Penal Code of California 192(c), the punishment can be very severe and the prosecuting attorney must demonstrate:
- The misdemeanor/felony was deemed hazardous to human life,
- Whilst operating the vehicle, the misdemeanor/felony was committed in an unlawful manner,
- The misdemeanor/felony was committed with ordinary negligence,
- Misdemeanor/felony resulted in the loss of human life
According to Penal Code section 193, the punishment of vehicular manslaughter as a misdemeanor is incarceration of up to 1 year. The punishment of vehicular manslaughter as a felony is incarceration by 2, 4 or 6 years in state prison. The motor vehicle department will suspend the defendant’s license as well if convicted of the crime.
Possible defenses of vehicular manslaughter may be:
- Defendant’s actions were not the cause of loss of human life
- Defendant’s actions were not in fact negligent
- Defendant was not operating the vehicle at the time of the accident
Under Penal Code 191.5, vehicular manslaughter whilst intoxicated is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought by gross negligence. This crime is punishable by 4, 6, or 10 years in California state prison. A defendant convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter with additional prior convictions of the same regard is punishable by 15 years to life in California state prison. Gross Negligence is committed when the defendant behaves in a reckless manner that produces a high risk of bodily injury or human death AND when a reasonable human being would be of sound mind to know that behavior would generate such risk. To prove a defendant is guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter whilst intoxicated, the following must be proven:
- The defendant operated the motor vehicle whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The defendant committed a supplementary misdemeanor/felony whilst driving impaired that may cause human death
- The defendant showed gross negligence whilst the act was committed
- The gross negligence resulted in the loss of human life due to the conduct
For all the listed reasons, it is important to have great attorneys on your side. The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong come equipped with the best lawyers in order to represent and defend the accused on all vehicular manslaughter crime convictions. The talent of the lawyers is apparent due to the sensitive nature of these cases and the special attention each defendant receives throughout this tedious process.