Vehicular Manslaughter – Penalizing Negligence
Ordinarily, if you’re negligent and someone was hurt you would be sued civilly and a jury could award the person hurt with money damages.
If a person is killed as a result of your negligence, you can be charged with manslaughter – a crime. The crime of vehicular manslaughter can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on whether the person’s negligence rose to the level of gross negligence (felony) or not (misdemeanor).
The elements of Vehicular Manslaughter are:
1. A person was killed;
2. The death was caused by the defendant’s driving;
3. The defendant drove a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony;
3. Defendant drove a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an
Gross negligence is bad judgment that rises to the level of recklessness that creates a high risk of death. In gross negligence the actions of the person evidence a conscious disregard for human life.
The punishment for vehicular manslaughter range from 2, 4 or 6 years prison if charged as a felony or up to 1 year in jail if charged as a misdemeanor. In addition, the person convicted will have their license revoked for 3 years.
Successfully fighting a vehicular manslaughter charge requires showing that the behavior of the defendant was not negligent. In felony cases it may be easier because all that is required to show is that the defendant did not act with gross negligence – ordinary negligence isn’t enough.
Vehicular manslaughter cases can also be fought by showing that the defendant’s actions did not cause the person’s death. There could be multiple causes to a traffic collision. In fact, the deceased driving may have contributed to the accident.
These cases are complicated and require bringing together witnesses, experts and lawyers to successfully defend. If you’ve been charged with vehicular manslaughter call (213) 479-5322 to discuss your case with an attorney who knows how to coordinate your defense.