California Penal Code section 191.5(a) defines gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated as driving under the influence resulting in the unlawful killing of a human being without premeditation or malice aforethought. To convict you of this crime, the prosecution must prove that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you committed an unlawful act or an otherwise lawful act that might cause death, you acted with gross negligence, and your grossly negligent conduct caused the death of another. The sentencing and punishment for a DUI resulting in death that results from driving under the influence can be severe.
In order to convict you of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, the prosecution must show that your conduct was grossly negligent. Gross negligence is more than just mere carelessness or mistake. Rather, it is reckless conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or great bodily injury and is a far deviation from how a reasonable person would act in the same situation. This standard of conduct is what distinguishes gross vehicular manslaughter from other vehicular manslaughter offenses that require only ordinary negligence.
Cases of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated usually involve vehicular collisions in which the driver or a passenger of the car you hit dies from injuries related to the crash. However, you can also be convicted of this offense if the passenger in your own vehicle dies as a result of your negligent conduct. The key issues that the prosecution must overcome are whether you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol while you were driving the vehicle and whether you acted with gross negligence. Although you can be convicted of either gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated or driving under the influence (DUI), you cannot be convicted of both because the two offenses “merge” into one crime.
DEFENSES TO A CHARGE OF GROSS VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER WHILE INTOXICATED
There are a number of defenses that a gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated defense lawyer at KN Law Firm can raise on your behalf. Your attorney can argue that you were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that your actions were not negligent or that your actions were not the cause of death. In addition, your lawyer can have incriminating evidence excluded from trial if it is found that the police failed to comply with procedural formalities. Each of these defenses can be raised depending upon the facts of your individual case. Be sure to consult a California gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated defense attorney to learn more.
PUNISHMENTS FOR GROSS VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER WHILE INTOXICATED
According to the California Penal Code section 191.5(a), gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is always charged as a felony offense and is punishable by 4, 6 or 10 years in state prison. You also face an additional sentence of 3 to 6 six years in state prison if any of the surviving victims have sustained great bodily. Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is considered a serious felony and a conviction can act as a strike on your criminal record. In some rare cases, you can even be charged with second degree murder if someone dies as a result of your grossly negligent conduct and you have any prior DUI related convictions on your record.
HELP YOU NEED
If you are confronted with accusations of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in California, it is essential that you contact an experienced defense lawyer who is familiar with such cases.
With many years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles DUI Attorney Chris Nalchadjian is highly effective at fighting all aspects of DUI charges. Mr. Nalchadjian understands the consequences a DUI conviction can carry and works hard to ensure his clients receive the best representation possible.
For more information about driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles DUI Attorney Chris Nalchadian at KN Law Firm. We can be reached 24/7 at 888 950 0011 or through this contact form.