In the United States, the crime of vehicular manslaughter is committed when a death results from the negligent or reckless operation of a vehicle. This is also committed when a death results from the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony.

The victim in this case is either an individual not in the vehicle with the accused, such as a pedestrian, cyclist, another motorist or a passenger in the vehicle of the accused. In California, depending on the facts of the case, if a death results from the operation of a vehicle, the following charges may also be leveled against the accused:

• Vehicular manslaughter;
• Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated;
• Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated;
• Second degree murder.

In these cases, the prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

• The driver committed a wrongful act, either a felony, misdemeanor, infraction or a lawful act resulting in death;
• The said wrongful act caused the accident and resulted in the death of the victim.

The following are the penalties for vehicular manslaughter, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, the crime may be charged either as a felony or misdemeanor:

• Jail time and parole;
• Probation;
• Suspended sentence;
• Fines;
• Loss of driving privileges;

Depending upon the crime, the following are the imposable penalties:

• Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated can be meted out jail time of one year in county penitentiary or up to ten years in state prison. If there are prior violations of the same crime, then the imposable penalty is fifteen years to life imprisonment in a state penal facility;
• Gross vehicular manslaughter without intoxication is punishable with up to one year in county jail or up to six years in a state penal facility;
• Vehicular manslaughter may be meted out a one year jail time in a county facility;
• Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated can be punishable of up to one year in county jail or up to four years in state penal facility;
• Vehicular manslaughter without intoxication, where the intent was for financial gain, then the imposable penalty is up to ten years in state prison.

The crime of vehicular manslaughter is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.