A couple of drinks with dinner can subsequently lead to a fatal drunk driving accident. Vehicular manslaughter is a “wobbler" in the state of California, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense.
It’s very normal to enjoy a couple of drinks during an evening out on the town or while enjoying dinner with your spouse or a couple of friends. However, if on your way home you just so happen to get involved in an auto accident in which someone else are killed, you could be facing charges of vehicular manslaughter.
These types of accidents can have several gray areas because often times the accused had been drinking, but didn’t really have enough alcohol in their system to be technically “drunk." In fact, the other driver might have been at fault, or there could have been other road or weather conditions which actually caused the accident.
In accident cases such as these, it’s absolutely critical to hire a reputable DUI defense lawyer. An attorney can work with a panel of experts including toxicologists and accident reconstructionists to dispute the criminal allegations. If the case is properly defended, it may be possible to get the criminal charges either reduced or dismissed.
In order for you to be convicted of vehicular manslaughter the prosecuting attorney must prove that you were in fact under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that you committed an unlawful act, or that you committed a lawful but dangerous act, in addition to driving under the influence. They must also prove that your negligence directly caused the death of another human being.
Similar to DUI with injury, vehicular manslaughter is a “wobbler" in the state of California, meaning you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, the penalties would include from 5 days to 1 year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, driver’s license suspension and probation.
If your vehicular manslaughter charge is prosecuted as a felony offense, the penalties are far more severe. The penalties for a felony would be as follows: from 16 months to 4 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, drivers license suspension and a “strike" on your criminal record.
If you or someone you love is facing charges for vehicular manslaughter, you can see how important it is to fight your criminal charges. If you are facing felony charges, your attorney may be able to get your charges reduced to a misdemeanor, which would make a huge difference in the penalties that you would face. Just imagine how a felony conviction would affect your personal and professional life. How would going to prison for several years affect your family or your career? If you are in a bad situation with the law, a Van Nuys DUI attorney may be able to help you get your charges reduced. You owe it to yourself to seek legal counsel right away.