What is vehicular manslaughter?
This offense is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being without malice, committed while driving a vehicle.[i] A driver must have demonstrated ordinary or gross negligence.[ii] Ordinary negligence means the driver failed to use reasonable care to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to another person. Gross negligence means the driver acted recklessly, in a way that created a high risk of death or great bodily injury.
Vehicular manslaughter is a “wobbler,” and can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A driver’s criminal and driving history are relevant. A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine up to $1,000, informal probation, and/or a year in jail. A felony is punishable by a fine up to $10,000, formal probation, and/or two, four, or six years in prison.[iii]
At this point, police cannot determine which, if any, driver acted negligently. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.[iv]
In many cases such as the one above, facing a possible manslaughter charge can be a terrifying ordeal. If it is possible that you can be charged with vehicular manslaughter, call Santa Rosa criminal defense attorney Gabriel Quinnan. He has experience in handling such matters in both DMV and the criminal courts. Quinnan is a skilled practitioner available to represent you in Sonoma, Marin, Lake, Mendocino, and Napa counties. Call Gabriel Quinnan today at (707) 540-2356 to learn how he can defend you.
[i] California Penal Code (PC) § 192(c).
[ii] PC §§ 192(c)(1) and (2).
[iii] PC §§ 19 and 193.
[iv] The Press Democrat, January 28, 2015. Pedestrian killed in crash on sidewalk was longtime Santa Rosa resident. See:
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