Fresno DUI attorney discusses vehicular manslaughter during incidents of DUI

Mar 27, 2014

Recently on Route 94 near Encanto, a man allegedly drove while intoxicated and crashed into another vehicle, resulting in the death of the other driver.  The man is now facing multiple felony counts, including gross vehicular manslaughter.

How does California law define different kinds of vehicular manslaughter that involve driving under the influence (DUI)?

Vehicular manslaughter during a DUI
The law for vehicular manslaughter during a DUI defines this crime in the following way: you have to be driving under the influence, behave negligently, and - as a result of your negligence - contribute to someone else's death.

Gross vehicular manslaughter during a DUI
In the tragic incident mentioned earlier in this post, the criminal charges included gross vehicular manslaughter during a DUI; what's the difference between this charge and vehicular manslaughter?

The difference primarily lies with the degree of negligence.  With vehicular manslaughter, the negligence is defined as not taking reasonable care with your actions.  With gross vehicular manslaughter, the negligence goes beyond a failure to take reasonable care or precautions; gross negligence demonstrates a much more pronounced lack of regard and care, perhaps an indifference towards any of the consequences of your actions.

There are also differences in the classification of each crime; vehicular manslaughter involving DUI may be either a misdemeanor or a felony, while gross vehicular manslaughter is always a felony.  Any charge of gross vehicular manslaughter also includes a charge of vehicular manslaughter.  Sentencing and other penalties depend on different factors including your criminal history and whether or not other people were seriously injured during the incident.

If you ever find yourself facing these charges, you need to contact an experienced Fresno DUI attorney. Regardless of the circumstances, you need a strong advocate in the legal system.  In a number of cases, the evidence may not be clear-cut; for example, the extent of your negligence and whether or not it contributed to another person's death may not always be clear.  You need to have an attorney review your case thoroughly and advise you on what to do.

Category: Manslaughter

Michael Mitchell


Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.