Accidents do occur. When someone pulls out of their driveway and onto a public road, they are all taking a chance. When does your negligence turn into a crime when someone is injured or killed while you’re driving?
If you were in a car accident where someone died, you very certainly went through tremendous mental or possibly bodily pain. You may feel somewhat accountable, but that does not mean that you have actually broken the law. Keep reading to learn about situations that could lead to legal ramifications. If you have been charged or are worried you will be, contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 for help today.
When mishaps occur
You might recall the news stories from a few years ago when Caitlyn Jenner was being looked into for vehicular manslaughter. She rear-ended the vehicle in front of her on PCH while pulling a dune buggy, sending it into oncoming traffic. Sadly, the car’s driver passed away.
Alcohol was not a factor, according to the authorities. Jenner actually drove slowly and applied the brakes to prevent a collision. However, the LA District Attorney was still conducting a protracted criminal inquiry.
Even though investigators ultimately came to the conclusion that Jenner was driving carelessly and did not apply the brakes as quickly as she should have, they also found that she was not driving recklessly or negligently. She wasn’t speeding and it appears that she didn’t break any traffic laws that may have resulted in a traffic misdemeanor manslaughter conviction, even though she was driving quicker than she probably should have given the slick road conditions.
An infraction or a felony?
Road offenses like speeding, turning illegally, or texting while driving are less serious than misdemeanors and typically only carry fines, not jail time. However, you might be charged with vehicular manslaughter if your error caused a chain of circumstances that resulted in the death of another.
Depending on a variety of conditions, vehicular manslaughter in California can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction might result in a sentence of up to a year in county prison. If you are found guilty of a felony, you might spend two to ten years behind bars.
Factors that determine whether a charge is a felony or a misdemeanor
Whether you acted with ordinary or extreme negligence affects whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. You could face misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges if your actions were just negligent. It might be a criminal if you were driving grossly negligently.
Fundamentally, extreme negligence denotes that you did not merely act carelessly, were preoccupied, or had to make a snap judgment. You could have gravely injured someone as a result of your reckless and risky behavior, which a reasonable person would have recognized.
Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
The charges may be significantly more severe if you were under the influence. Additionally, you might have to complete community service, a DUI probationary period, victim restitution, license limitations, or both, in addition to any jail sentence. You could even face charges of second-degree murder if you have a history of DUI offenses.
Don’t wait any longer to seek assistance from Southern California’s top criminal defense lawyer, Chambers Law Firm, if you are currently under criminal investigation for causing a deadly auto accident. Dan is the best candidate for your defense due to his expertise in vehicular manslaughter cases and his desire to fight for you. For a free consultation, contact email@example.com or call 714-760-4088 right away.