Any driver always is under risk to injure or deprive from life a passenger, another driver, or a pedestrian. It can arrive that the death results from negligence of the driver. The driver can be charged with vehicular manslaughter. Otherwise, if he or she has another DUI convictions, the prosecution can even incriminate Second Degree Murder(Watson Murder). However, take into consideration, that depending on the specific circumstances of the case, it is possible to charge with Second Degree Murder even without prior DUI convictions.
The prosecution has to prove that the driver was negligent during the traffic or committed any traffic violation, and it caused the accident with the death of a person.
To prove that the defendant is guilty of vehicular manslaughter, the Prosecution must prove that:
1. The defendant drove a vehicle or operated a vessel
2. While driving that vehicle or operating that vessel, the defendant committed an unlawful act that might cause death
3. The defendant committed the lawful act that might cause death with negligence
4. The defendant’s negligent conduct caused the death of another person.
Ordinary negligence is the failure to use reasonable care to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to oneself or someone else. A person is negligent, i.e., if he or she used alcohol before driving and, thus, it impaired the abilities to operate or control a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol mental and motor skills were impaired.
Vehicular Manslaughter is considered to be “wobbler”, that is to say depending on the circumstances of the case, the defendant can be charged whether with a misdemeanor or a felony. The incrimination depends on the level of negligence. Nonetheless, if the prosecutor establishes the presence of the gross negligence, the offence will be charged as a felony. It has to be noted that California’s Penal Code states the gross negligence as a situation “when an individual is considered to have been driving without caution and/or concern for the safety of others.”
It should be mentioned that the court has become more severe towards DUI accidents. Actually, taking into consideration that a person knew of inherently dangerous nature of driving under the influence, and having the conscious knowledge of the possible results of his/her acts preferred to disregard it, the court expanded the scope of the murder crimes. For example, if the driver took DUI classes, or renewed the driver’s license, as a part of the curriculum he/she had to be prevented about the possible outcomes of the further driving under the influence. Under these circumstances in the judicial practice, the offender can be charged with a murder.
If convicted of misdemeanor, the person can face up to one (1) year in a county jail. If convicted of felony vehicular manslaughter, the person can incarcerated from two (2) to ten years (10) in the state prison.
However, that is the prosecutor who has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed vehicular manslaughter caused by his or her negligence. Your professional and experienced attorney can make his best to not make the prosecution meet this burden. And the defendant must be found non-guilty of that crime.
Have you or your loved one been accused of a vehicular manslaughter? The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. We will help you to understand the various aspects of your case. We are ready to provide answers to your initial questions concerning drug charges in California for free. Do not hesitate to contact us!
You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000