Presented to you by Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
Robert Helfend

Accidents happen on the road. Usually road conditions and distractions are the main cause. Some things just cannot be helped on the highway, and in those cases we consider those accidents. However, when a situation arises that causes two cars to collide due to negligence, a criminal offense may have been committed.

Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular Manslaughter is when an accident becomes fatal. The law considers any car accident that causes a death to anyone other than the driver, due to gross negligence, as vehicular manslaughter. In this case, should a driver get distracted by cell phone use, while operating a vehicle and cause a fatal accident, they can be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

The main component of vehicular manslaughter law is that the prosecution must prove that the driver committed a lawful act, which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.

It is also important to note that there is no discrimination on who can be considered a victim in a vehicular manslaughter case. A victim can be anyone from the passenger in your car to a pedestrian, a driver or passenger in another vehicle, or a biker.

Degrees of Crimes Associated with a Killing with an Automobile

There are different types of Vehicular Manslaughter. They are misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, felony vehicular manslaughter (either Intoxicated w/o gross negligence or intoxicated with gross negligence) and finally, second-degree murder.

DUI/Vehicular Manslaughter

Felony vehicular manslaughter can mean the driver was extremely negligent with their driving and caused a death while being under the influence.

Murder in the second degree refers to operating a vehicle while under the influence and killing someone while driving recklessly after having suffered a prior DUI conviction.

Driving is a privilege and should be treated as such. Accidents happen and sometimes cannot be prevented; however, operating a motor vehicle while on drugs and/ or alcohol can and should be avoided. Always have a designated driver!

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