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If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with Vehicular Manslaughter it is imperative that you get experienced legal advice as quickly as possible.  You will have a  lot of questions which with an offense as serous as this is very fact intensive.  Nothing in this article is meant as legal advice and every situation is different.  I will go through the offense below and go over what the offense is, such as the elements.  Give us a call at 559 441-1418 if you have any questions after reading this article.  

 

WHAT IS VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER?

Vehicular Manslaughter is an offense relating to accidents that lead to a fatality and you are now charged with vehicular manslaughter.  In order to understand if your charge was appropriate you need to understand the kind of driving that triggers such a charge and the specific elements dealing with that charge.  I am going to go over the elements of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence and then on a different blog go over the elements that include gross negligence. 

 

1.  A human being was killed 

2. The killing was unlawful

3. Defendant drove a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act without gross negligence

or 

3. Defendant drove a vehicle in the commission of a lawful which might produce death in an unlawful manner, but without gross negligence.  

 

NEGLIGENCT DRIVING

This is when a person drives carelessly or shows some form or negligence, such as when the driver is distracted and briefly takes there eyes off the road.  

DRIVNG WHILE INTOXICATED

Driving under the influence of drugs regardless of (whether they are prescription or illegal) or alcohol is considered reckless behavior.  

DRIVING WHILE EXCESSIVELY SLEEPY

Driving while excessively sleepy because when people are very tired they do not have the reflexis they would normally and can cause the person to actually fall asleep and cause and accident and if that accident results in death then that person. 

 

VIOLATION OF A SAFETY STATUTE

This occurs when somoeone violates a safety statute.  And there is an accident that results in death.  

 

EXAMPLE

 

A person is very tired from working the night shift they are driving home from work one night and they fall asleep on the road.  There vehicle hits another vehicle after the driver falls aaleep on the road.  The driver was violatiing the above driving while excessively sleepy and possibly speeding and then hit the car causing a death.  This would be the case of someone who could be charged with vehicular manslaughter.  

 

EXAMPLE 

Driver is driving down the street at an excessive speed someone is walking in the road  and becasuse the driver is going to fast he cannot see the person walking across the road and hits the person causing the person to be injured and later lose his or her life.  This would be an example of someone violating a statute (speeding) and this caused the death.  This person could be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

 

IS VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER A FELONY OR MISDEMEANOR?

 

Under Penal Code 192 the statute dealing with vehicular manslaughter the prosecution has the ability to charge the case either as a Felony or a Misdemeanor meaning the charge is a wobbler offense.  

 

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES? 

As a misdemeanor conviction  one year and a $1,000.00 dollar fine. 

As a Felony conviction you could get Felony probation or 2 up to 6 years in prison and a $10,000.00 dollar fine.  

 

As you can see this is a serous charge and as stated above you should get legal representation as soon as possible.  As an Attorney with more than 17 years of experience and having handled several of these cases we can help you get through this call us at 559-441-1418.

 

 

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Gerald Schwab, Jr.

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & DUI ATTORNEY SERVING ALL OF CALIFORNIA

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Law Office of Gerald Schwab, Jr.
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
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Fresno, CA 93704
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