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If you have been charged with Vehicular manslaugther it is a serious charge and you need representation right away.  I have personally handled many vehicular manslaughter and DUI with death cases in more than 13 years of experience.  You should call right away if you have questions.


When death results from driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs , Penal Codes homicide statutes may come into play. 

The person may be charged with manslaughter or in some cases Murder. 


The gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated statute is defined in section 191.5 and reads as follows

 A. Gross vehicular Mansluaghter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice of forethougth. , the driving of a vehicle, where the driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehilce Code. , and the killing was either the proximate cause or the result of a negligent act.  The death must be the proximate result of an unlawful act and with gross not ordinary negligence. 

Vehicluar manslaughter is the same as above except without gross negligence.


Therefore, california has two statutes relating to vehicular mansluaghter, vehicular mansluaghter while intoxicated 192 c 3, and gross vehicular mansluaghter while intoxicated 191.5 A.


Therefore there are three ways to be charged with manslaugther resulting in death.

1. Penal Code section 193 C misdameanor or felony without gross negligence

2. Penal Code 191.5 A felony with gross negligence, but without malice

3. Penal Code section 187 usually you need a prior to show malice, or wanton reckless manor of death.


So remember there is a three step process the prosecution must prove

1. That you were in violation of 23152 a or b

2. and you did a negligent act

3. that negligent act proximately led to the death of another person. 


If the prosecution cannot prove those three you may be guilty of the misdameanotr 193 c. 

Example a women driving home after drinking with friends, is driving the speed  limit no near any intersections and suddenly a homeless person wanders into the street not wearing in protective clothing (similiar to a case I once had) and the driver strikes and kills him.

because there was no negligent act by the driver, and she probably would not have been able to avoid him even if sober she should only be guilt of the misdameanor crime.  She must have been doing some negligent act.  Here she was driving the speed limit, she was not acting innatentively, and he wandered into the street. 


The gross negligence statute is much more difficult for the prosecution to prove. 

For the gross negligence statute to apply there needs to be more than just be intoxicated for the gross negligence to apply.  However this could be shown by the overall method of driving in connection with the level of intoxication.  things to be taken into consideration will be the speed driven in relation to the maximum speed limit for the area, and ignored advice from others not to drive.  remember you must have been acting with conscious disregard for the circumstances in order to be found guilty  of this crime. 


A Murder charge for drunk driving offenses are rare usually for repeat offenders that are given the so called “waton advisement” that drinking and driving is ineherently dangerous to human life.

for example at trial the prosecution introduces evidence that the accused has two prior dui’s and on his third dui kills two people when his car collides with there car.  Under these circumstances, the person could be  charged with Murder.  This is because when a person is convicted of a DUI they are given and advisement that driving under the influence is inherently dangerous to human life. 

if you have further questions do not hesitate to give us a call fresno criminal attorneys fresno dui attorney

Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
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