Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being committed without the intent to kill. There are mitigating circumstances surrounding the killing that makes it not a murder offense. Murder is the killing of a human being done with intent to kill. In North Carolina, there are three types of manslaughter charges: involuntary manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter, and vehicular manslaughter.
- What Is Vehicular Manslaughter?
- How Is Vehicular Manslaughter Defined in North Carolina?
- What Are Some Examples of Criminal Activity That Can Lead to a Death by Vehicle?
- Is Vehicular Homicide in North Carolina a Misdemeanor or Felony?
- What Is the Penalty for Vehicular Manslaughter in North Carolina?
- Do I Need an Attorney?
In general, vehicular manslaughter is the unintentional death of another person committed because of illegal driving. The illegal driving can be anything from speeding to drunk driving.
North Carolina defines vehicular homicide, known as death by vehicle in the state, as killing a human being while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The crime of death by vehicle also includes any homicide caused by a violation of state or local driving laws.
A death that is caused by operating a motor vehicle can be a result of:
- Driving while texting or talking on the phone
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Running a red light
- Driving recklessly
Vehicular homicide can be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the case. It is a felony when the homicide is a result of a DUI, and it is a misdemeanor when the homicide is the result of breaking another driving law.
The penalty that a person will face for committing a death by vehicle depends on whether the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony. It also depends on if the perpetrator has committed this crime in the past.
If the death by vehicle is a misdemeanor, then the crime is a Class A1 misdemeanor. The punishment for this crime is 1 to 60 days in prison and a fine at an amount set by the judge.
A felony death by vehicle crime is a Class D felony, which is punished by a prison sentence of 51 to 64 months. If the defendant has already been convicted of committing a felony death by vehicle, then the subsequent crime is a Class B2 felony. The punishment for a Class B2 felony in North Carolina is 125 to 157 months in prison, but a defendant may face a longer sentence depending on how many prior convictions they have accumulated prior to being convicted.
If you are accused of causing a homicide while driving, you will likely need to obtain some assistance in defending yourself. Contact a North Carolina attorney immediately to fight your vehicular homicide charge.