Imagine this scenario: You were nervous when deciding to drive the car without getting the recommended work done, but taking the bus for the next week was a big inconvenience while the car gets through repairs, not to mention the cost for the repairs. You have a few friends who like working on cars - you will ask one of them to help take care of it in a couple of days, but for now, you need to get to work.
You look down to check a text message on your phone, and when you look up, you realize the light has phased to red. With your faulty brakes, you cannot stop yourself from careening into the intersection. The bicyclist never saw you coming. When you slowly drag yourself out from the car, you realize that he isn't moving.
The decision to wait and fix the brakes has just cost someone their life.
Vehicular manslaughter is a serious crime. Although there was never an intension for anyone to die as a result, unfortunately, it has happened. Now, on top of having to figure out how to live with knowing someone has lost their life because of the choices made, you will be faced with criminal, and likely civil penalties as well.
The penalties that result from criminal charges for vehicular manslaughter depend in part on the level of negligence that the driver is found to have applied in the decision-making leading up to the fatal accident. Negligence is the failure to apply the level of care that an ordinary individual is expected to apply in the same situation. The negligence can be ordinary, or it can be a higher level of negligence and be found to be gross negligence. The level of negligence defines the level of the crime: misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter versus gross vehicular manslaughter.
Misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter
When someone is faced with a sudden and unexpected emergency situation, he or she is expected to behave in a manner using the care and judgment that an ordinary person would apply in the same situation. Not applying that same level of care and judgment is ordinary negligence. In the case of vehicular manslaughter, when that failure of judgment occurs and it causes the death of another person, a person can be found guilty of ordinary negligence and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.
Gross Vehicular Manslaughter
Gross negligence is more extreme than ordinary negligence. It occurs when someone acts recklessly with a high risk of death or grave bodily injury, and where a reasonable person would have been aware their actions created such a risk. It involves more than just inattention or mistake.
In both cases, it must be shown that the driver was negligent and that the driver's actions caused the death of another person.
Vehicular manslaughter is a serious situation. If you are faced with such an overwhelming situation, you need the help of an experienced attorney to help get you the best result possible. At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, our Orange County defense attorneys work every day to defend those charged with crimes, and they will protect your constitutional rights. For more information about California criminal proceedings visit
. To set up a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys, call 866.902.6880 today.