Vehicular manslaughter is the unintentional death of another caused by someone illegally driving. In California, a driver can be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter.

What is Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated?

In California, gross vehicular manslaughter is defined as driving under the influence and causing an unlawful killing of a human being. The unlawful killing occurs without malice aforethought or premeditation.

What Does a Prosecutor Have to Prove to Convict Me of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated?

To prove beyond a reasonable doubt an individual killed someone while under the influence, a prosecutor must show:

  • The driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident
  • The driver either committed a lawful act or unlawful act that may have caused the victim’s death
  • The driver acted with gross negligence
  • The driver’s grossly negligent conduct did cause the victim’s death 

What Does Gross Negligence Mean?

Gross negligence is beyond a mere mistake or carelessness. It is when the conduct is considered to be reckless. The reckless conduct creates a substantial risk of causing great bodily injury or death. For example, a driver who fails to exercise the slightest amount of reasonable care while operating a motor vehicle would be grossly negligent.

Is Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated a Misdemeanor?

No. In California, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is always charged as a felony.

What is the Punishment for a Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated Misdemeanor Conviction?

A conviction of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated carries the possibility of probation, as well as 4 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. A defendant may also face an additional 3 to 6 years in prison if any victims of the accident have sustained great bodily injury. 

Is This Crime a Strike On My Criminal Record?

Yes. In California, it is marked as a strike on your criminal record.

Should I Consult a Lawyer Regarding my Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated Charge?

Yes, a California criminal lawyer will explain the charge, best defense to use, and possible ways to reduce or eliminate the charge.