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Vehicular Manslaughter in Anaheim

If you are in the city of Anaheim and you cause the death of a person while driving, then you can be charged with vehicular manslaughter. Under California Penal Code 192(c) the death caused must be as a result of either:

  • Negligently committing a lawful act that may cause death or
  • Negligently committing an unlawful act that is NOT a California felony

If you cause someone's death while negligently committing an unlawful act that is a felony then you will be charged with murder and not manslaughter. Additionally, if the accident that caused the death was as a result of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then the charge will be for ‘vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated’ or ‘vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated’. An example of an instance of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated would be a situation where a person who is legally impaired due to their consumption of alcohol (or with a BAC of 0.08% or higher) mistakenly hits someone else on the freeway while driving over the speed limit. Because of the intoxicated operator’s carelessness, the operator of the vehicle that got hit died upon impact. Some possible defenses that could be used when accused of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated include that you were not even intoxicated in the first place. If you were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then that would you mean you were not intoxicated.

Vehicular Manslaughter Penalties

A vehicular manslaughter charge can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. The distinction between the two is dependent upon whether or not you acted with ordinary negligence of gross negligence. Gross negligence occurs when the person operating the vehicle does something that any reasonable person would have known would create danger or a high risk of bodily injury or death. Depending on the charge, the penalties can be either:

  • 1-year in county jail for a misdemeanor charge or
  • 2, 4 or 6 years in state prison for a felony charge
  • Additionally, your license can be suspended by the DMV

An example of vehicular manslaughter would be a situation where the operator of the vehicle is returning to her house while being mildly intoxicated. On her way home, she mistakenly crashes into someone else on the highway when changing lanes and ends up killing the driver of the other vehicle.

Defending Against a Vehicular Manslaughter Charge

Depending on the facts of the case and the particular circumstances that led to the events in question, there are several defense strategies that an attorney can use against a vehicular manslaughter charge. Some of the defenses include:

  • Your actions did not cause the death
  • You were not the one driving the vehicle
  • You were not negligent when the accident happened and someone died

If you want to find the best outcome against a vehicular manslaughter charge, it is very important for you to find an experienced Vehicular Manslaughter Defense Attorney at the Johnson Criminal Law Group who knows and understands the ins and outs of the court where you will be arraigned. Doing so could help you mitigate the punishment you face, or completely release you from responsibility.

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