Gross Vehicular Manslaughter while Intoxicated

gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated

Under California’s Penal Code (§ 191.5 (a)), gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought.

There are certain elements of the crime which the prosecutor has to meet in order to prove that the defendant is guilty of the commission of the crime.

First of all, it has to be proven that the defendant:

  • drove under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or a drug
  • or drove under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug
  • or drove while having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher
  • drove under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or a drug
  • or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug
  • or when under the age of 21
  • or drove while having a blood alcohol level of 0.05 or higher when under the age of 21
  • operated a vessel under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or a drug
  • or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug
  • or operated a vessel while having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.

If the first requirement has been met, the following element is to be proven consists of the fact that while driving the vehicle or operating that vessel under the influence, the defendant also committed an lawful act that might cause death of a person.

Thirdly, it has been stated that the defendant committed the lawful act that might cause death with gross negligence. And, finally, this grossly negligent conduct caused the death of another person. An act causes death if the death is the direct, natural, and probable consequence of the act and the death would not have happened without the act. A natural and probable consequence is one that a reasonable person would know is likely to happen if nothing unusual intervenes. An act causes death only if it is an essential factor in causing the death. Nonetheless, it has not to be the only factor that causes the death.

Generally, gross negligence is more than ordinary carelessness, inattention, or mistake in judgment. Under California Law, gross negligence is present when:

  • a person acts in a reckless way that creates a high risk of death or great bodily injury
  • a reasonable person would have known that acting in that way would create such a risk.

Another saying, the way an ordinarily careful person would act in the same situation cardinally differs from a person acts with gross negligence. Mainly such actions are expressed in disregard for human life or indifference to the consequences of that act.

Vehicular manslaughter can be charged taking into consideration the fact that suggest gross negligence and a convicted person will face sentencing up to 10 years in state prison. Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and with ordinary negligence is brought if it is harder to establish the link between the act and the death. However, if a person is charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with ordinary malice, he may face two, four, or six years in the California State Prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

However, it is up to the prosecutor who has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. 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 gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated? The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. You can always contact us in order to discuss your specific case and get your legal assistance. We are a client-centered professional law firm. All information entrusted us will be confidential and private. Do not hesitate to contact us!

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