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Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter is one of the more serious offenses that anyone on the highway may face if their negligent or careless behavior is the direct cause of an accident that resulted in death. Vehicular manslaughter may be charged with probation and/or up to ten years in prison for every person that died as a direct result of your actions. If you are charged with vehicular manslaughter under Penal Code 192, it is crucial to speak with an attorney who can help you challenge the evidence presented by the police and other investigators. Upon contacting the Long Beach DUI Attorney law firm, our attorney and team of investigators will conduct a separate investigation of your case. We know that mistakes can occur at any moment in the police investigation which is why we prefer to conduct a separate investigation. An independent investigation may help uncover other facts that may have been overlooked by a police report.

Driving on the highway is a right that can be taken away if the state believes you are too dangerous to operate a motor vehicle. A vehicular manslaughter may be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony and both will warrant some type of driving restrictions. If you are charged and convicted with a felony, you may be required to live with the restrictions of a felon. A felon in the state of California may receive a permanent ban on their license, long prison sentence, probation, restricted travel, and may not have the right to vote or own guns.

Individuals that are driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs who have been in an accident that resulted in death, will most likely be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated under Penal Code 191.5. If you were driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, you may face heftier punishments than those described under Penal Code 192 vehicular manslaughter. A violation of Penal Code 191.5 is treated as a straight felony which can result in up to ten years in prison. A vehicular manslaughter or gross vehicular manslaughter charge is something that should be carefully considered and analyzed by an attorney. Failing to have the right representation in a courtroom can result in punishments that could have been fought and dismissed.

If you are charged with a felony under Penal Code 192 or Penal Code 191.5, it is advised to challenge the case in a courtroom. Vehicular accidents happen all the time and unfortunately, the outcome is sometimes death. When a person dies on the highway as a result of a car accident, it is easy to point the fingers to a single person or at a single factor. In most cases, a vehicular accident contains a variety of factors that may have contributed to the accident. To prove that you were not the only person liable in a vehicular accident, it is usually a good idea to speak with an attorney before entering a courtroom.

Drivers who are charged with vehicular manslaughter or who are charged with any other traffic violation that has resulted in death should contact an attorney that is capable of applying the local homicide laws to the case. If you wish to have a clear review of your case, you are encouraged to contact the Long Beach DUI Attorney. Our office may be reached at 562-206-2012. We are ready to hear your case and help provide guidance in a courtroom.

What is Vehicular Manslaughter?

When a driver’s careless conduct causes an accident that results in the death of a passenger or pedestrian the driver may be charged with vehicular manslaughter under Penal Code 192 (c). In the state of California, manslaughter is the unintentional killing of another person that arises from unlawful actions or negligence. Penal Code 192 (c) is a subsection of manslaughter Penal Code 192. The law explains that PC 192 (c) is a wobbler meaning that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. PC 192 (c) describes vehicular manslaughter as an unintentional unlawful act that resulted in the death of a person. In most states, including the state of California, for a vehicular manslaughter verdict to occur, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant's careless actions were the cause of the death.

A driver in the state of California may be charged under Penal Code 192 (c) for the following reasons:

  • A driver may be charged under PC 192 (c) if and when they do not violate the provisions in Section 191.5 (gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated). A driver that is intoxicated while driving, commits a traffic violation that results in the death of a person, will be charged under PC 191.5 for causing death to another person while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • A driver may be charged under PC 192 (c) if their actions do not amount to a felony. In addition, the driver may be charged with a vehicular manslaughter in the absence of gross negligence. This section explains that a driver may be charged under this penal code if the driver violated a traffic code that resulted in the death of a person.
  • A driver may be charged under PC 192 (c) if they kill a person on the highway while attempting to cause an accident for financial gains. If you commit a traffic accident in order to receive compensations from your insurance provider, you may be charged with a felony.

The homicide laws have recently included Penal Code 192 (c) which describes specific punishments for vehicular accidents that result in death. More often than not, vehicular manslaughter holds lesser punishments than those underlined in 'voluntary manslaughter' Penal Code 192 (a) and 'involuntary manslaughter' Penal Code 192 (b). However, every case has a substantial amount of factors that are assessed in a courtroom before a final verdict. In some cases, a vehicular car accident can be charged with murder which will hold much higher consequences.

Vehicular manslaughter common examples:

  • Patty is driving at the legal speed limit down the highway on her way home. Patty is not intoxicated and she is following the traffic laws to the best of her abilities. However, Patty receives a text that makes her laugh out loud causing her to crash and kill another driver. In this case, Patty should not have been reading a text while driving. Patty will be charged under PC 192 (c) for texting while driving (a violation of traffic laws) and for causing a death related accident.
  • Jim just got his twin turbo engine installed in his Nissan 300zx. Jim is excited about the horsepower his car can produce and he cannot wait until the weekend to hit a race track. Jim and a couple of buddies decide to race down a local neighborhood street that is known for being empty most of the time. However, this time little Cindy and Jack are playing ball on the dark street. Jim rushing down the street notices that kids are playing on the street causing him to swerve and hit a parked vehicle. The collision resulted in the death of one of his friends. Jim could be charged with vehicular manslaughter for causing a death as a result of racing his car down a neighborhood street.

To be charged with vehicular manslaughter, the prosecuting party will need to prove that the driver was driving in a negligent conscious manner. In addition, the driver would need to have violated a traffic code that resulted in a death.

In California, vehicular manslaughter is considered a wobbler, meaning that it may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or as a felony. A misdemeanor or a felony will hold different punishments and either may be charged if and when a death occurs on the highway.

A California driver that is charged and convicted of vehicular manslaughter may face the following penalties:

  • A misdemeanor with gross or ordinary negligence can warrant a prison sentence for up to a year and fines up to one thousand dollars.
  • A felony with gross negligence can result in a prison sentence for up to six years and a fine that can range from one thousand to ten thousand dollars.

To learn more about Penal Code 192, you may check out the following page: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=192.

What is ‘gross negligence’?

Gross negligence is when a person acts in an irresponsible manner that would create a high probability of either 1) causing death and/or 2) causing great bodily injuries to another person. For actions to be considered gross negligence the defendant, in this case, the driver would need to have acted in a manner that is beyond careless. Gross negligence differs from ordinary negligence in that gross negligence is charged with a felony while ordinary negligence is charged with a misdemeanor.

What is gross vehicular manslaughter?

For a driver in an accident that resulted in a death to be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter as described in Penal Code 192 (c), the driver's actions would have to be:

  • Conscious actions
  • High-risk actions that were intentional and that have the potential to cause death or injuries

For example, Patrick is driving under the influence of alcohol and unintentionally crashes into another vehicle and kills a passenger. In this two-dimensional scenario, Patrick would not be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter.

On the other hand, Patrick is driving under the influence of alcohol and unintentionally crashed into another vehicle killing a passenger on the way. However, this time around Patrick was racing a vehicle on the highway. In this scenario, Patrick has violated traffic laws by going above the speed limit and driving while intoxicated. Patrick may be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for 1) unintentionally killing a bystander and 2) for violating traffic codes.

Gross Vehicular Manslaughter while Intoxicated

If your vehicle-related accident that caused a death was a direct result of driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol while committing a traffic violation, the driver may be charged with a felony under PC 191.5. If you are charged with a felony under PC 191.5 (a) you may face a prison sentence of up to ten years. When an attorney is capable of proving that your actions were not ‘gross’ the attorney may be capable of reducing the offense to a PC 191.5 (b) which may be treated as a misdemeanor and hold a maximum punishment of three years in prison. In some cases, if your attorney is capable of proving that you were not drunk while driving, the charges may be placed under PC 192 which holds lesser punishments than those described in PC 191.5 (a).

DUI Murder

In the worst of cases, a vehicular accident that results in the death of a person may be charged with murder. In California, you may be charged with ‘Watson’ murder if you 1) have an existing DUI record and 2) if your accident resulted in the death of a person while driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. A DUI murder is a very serious charge that is charged under California’s murder laws (Penal Code 187). To avoid a felony charge, you should consider speaking with an attorney about your incident.

Obtaining the Top Long Beach Vehicular Manslaughter Attorney Near You

If you are a driver in the state of California, you now understand the complexities that may arise from an accident that results in death. When in a courtroom, there are a variety of factors that can greatly impact your case. The presence of drugs in a vehicular manslaughter case and the history of past traffic convictions can increase your penalties. To make sure that you are not wrongfully charged and convicted it is advised to speak with an attorney about your case. Upon receiving your case, our attorney will be capable of conducting a separate investigation of the incident. As mentioned earlier, a separate investigation can produce different findings in your blood alcohol content samples, and additional factors that may have been overlooked by law enforcement agencies.

Drivers in the state of California should know that there is a lot at stake whenever a vehicular accident results in death. If you want to prove that other factors contributed to the accident that resulted in death, you may contact Long Beach DUI Attorney at 562-206-2012. We are ready to hear your case and provide guidance in a courtroom to ensure your case is heard.

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