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If you or a loved one has been charged with gross vehicular manslaugther give us a call.  This is a very serous offense and you will need experienced counsel to help you through this.  As an Attorney that has handled several of these cases and been a Defense Attorney for more than 18 years I have the knowlege and experience to help you through this.  


Below I will go through the elements of the offense and what are some of the defenses and factors taken into consideration as to whether the offense is gross vehicular manslaughter or another kind of manslaugther. 





1. The driver of the vehicle violated Vehicle Code section 21310, 21352, or 23153 

2. The killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act wich might produce death in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.  

3. The unlawful or negligent act was the cause of death of a human being. 


In breakin this down it means that a person has to be 

legally intoxicated (under the influence of alocohol or drugs) 

They drove with gross negligence

and caused and accident in which another person was killed. 



The grossly negligent act must be seperate from the DUI in other words the proseuction cant say you were intioxicated, therefore you were grossly negligent.  


example someone after consuming alcohol drives 40 miles per hour over the speed limit and runs a red light and then hits another car causing a fatality.  



This offense is a Felony punishable by 4, 6, or 10 years. 




You were not intoxicate at the time of driving

you were not grossly negligent

your negligent act did not cause the death was not the proximate cause of the death.  


Often prosectors will attempt to prosecute somoene for gross vehicular manslaughter when there is not gross negligence only ordinary carleessness such as running as stop sign and not running a stop sign at excessive speed.  violating a traffic law while intoxticated is not enough for gross vehicular manslaughter there must be something more involved than that.  


such as excessive speeds weaving through traffic while being very intoxicated.   Not mere negligence.  Part of the job of the defense attorney is to determine exactly the speed that one was driving and if there were other factors that may have contributed to the accident such as a sudden emergency was the person that was killed crossing the street agains the light and not paying attention and the estimated speed was only slightly above the speed limit etc. 

Many times these determination come down to expert opinions based on several factors.  Sometimes the police will do a accident reconstruction of the scene depending upon the agancy involved and the jurisdiction.   If this is true we have had reconstruction experts come back with reports that were actually favorable to us and helped our case.  And in many other circumstances you must hire a defense expert to go over the prosecutions expert to determine if there report was accurate.  

As you can see these can be very complex cases that often require expert opinions as to exactly what happened and how the negligence if at all caused the death.  

If after reading this article you have questions regarding your case and would like an evaluation give us a call and we can help you get through this.  my phone number is 559 441-1418. and we can help you get through this and use my experience as somoene who has handled these cased before and had results.  again my number is 559 441-1418. give us a call. 







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Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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Law Office of Gerald Schwab, Jr.
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
5588 N Palm Ave,
Fresno, CA 93704
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Phone: 559.441.1418