A person who dies from a car accident may be charged with vehicular manslaughter, a lesser offense than murder. However, the charge is still a serious one. It requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant’s reckless actions caused the death of another person. The penalties for a conviction of this crime are also harsh.
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Vehicular manslaughter is a felony, meaning that a conviction can lead to a lengthy prison term. In some states, the penalties for this offense can be increased based on the number of victims involved. For instance, if a motorist causes the death of more than one person, the maximum penalty for a misdemeanor charge can be as high as one year in jail. There are also additional penalties for a driver who was under the influence at the time of the incident.
In some cases, vehicular manslaughter charges are brought against pedestrians, as well as drivers. The law governing vehicular manslaughter can vary from state to state, and it is wise to consult a criminal attorney if you have been arrested or accused of an offense involving a vehicle.
When a motorist commits vehicular manslaughter, they are not required to have acted with any intent to kill. If the victim of the accident was drunk or under the influence of drugs, however, the penalties can be much harsher. As with any type of vehicular manslaughter charge, the prosecutor has to show that the defendant’s act was a criminal act. This may involve testing the victim’s blood alcohol level or performing a chemical analysis.
Driving under the influence can lead to more egregious crimes, such as gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. However, this is a specialized offense. Some states have a special class of vehicular manslaughter called second-degree vehicular manslaughter, which is a felony. Second-degree vehicular manslaughter is considered more serious than gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence.
Although the law may not be specific to vehicular manslaughter, most states have a homicide law that applies to these types of accidents. This law requires that the driver be aware that their actions have a substantial danger to other people. They must also be aware that their conduct will result in a collision.
Vehicular manslaughter can be charged when the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, if the driver violated a traffic safety statute, or if the driver performed an illegal U-turn. Other situations, such as driving at a dangerous speed or passing a vehicle on a “no passing” sign, can also result in this charge.
An experienced attorney will help you determine the best course of action. He or she can also challenge the evidence against you if it does not provide a clear explanation for the jury’s verdict. Depending on the circumstances of the case, your lawyer may be able to secure a lesser sentence for you. Generally speaking, it is important to have auto insurance that covers fatal accidents.
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