Vehicular manslaughter under Penal Code Section 192(c) is the unlawful, negligent killing of another person while driving a vehicle.
Vehicular manslaughter is typically the result of an unfortunate accident. Most drivers accused of this offense never had any intention of harming anyone. However, that doesn’t matter. If someone is killed as a result of your negligent driving, you could be prosecuted for either a misdemeanor or a felony violation of Penal Code Section 192(c)1.
If you are facing charges of vehicular manslaughter, it is critical that you speak with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich right away so that we may help you protect your rights during this difficult time. We may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed, or negotiate for a sentence that helps you avoid lengthy prison time.
What is Your Punishment if You Are Convicted of Vehicular Manslaughter?
A violation of Penal Code Section 192(c) is typically a “wobbler” offense – which means a prosecutor has the discretion to charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony. However, if you commit vehicular manslaughter for purposes of financial gain (such as making a fraudulent insurance claim), you could be prosecuted for a felony.
A conviction for vehicular manslaughter is punishable as follows:
- Misdemeanor – up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000;
- Felony – two, four or six years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000;
- Felony committed for financial gain – four, six or 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000;
- If there are any surviving victims who suffered great bodily injury, you face an additional and consecutive three to six-year prison sentence for each injured person;
- If you flee the scene of a vehicular manslaughter accident, you face an additional and consecutive five years in prison.
- If your criminal record includes a prior conviction for vehicular manslaughter and/or DUI-related offenses, you could be facing 15 years to life in prison.
A felony conviction may also be a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law.
You May Be Able to Have Your Charges or Punishment Reduced
Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich may be able to negotiate for a reduction in your charges or sentencing if you plead guilty to vehicular manslaughter.
We may be able to get a felony charge of violating Penal Code Section 192 (c) reduced to a misdemeanor if we can demonstrate that you were:
- Driving reasonably; and/or
- Did not break any other laws; and/or
- Limited or ordinary negligence was involved.
If a felony charge cannot be reduced, we may be able to argue that ordering you to serve a period of probation is in the best interest of justice. Probation may be an alternative to a prison sentence depending on:
- The facts of the case; and
- Your prior criminal record, if any.
The judge has the following options when he or she is authorized to grant you probation in a misdemeanor or felony case:
- Informal probation for a period not to exceed three years; or
- Formal probation under the supervision of a county probation officer, not to exceed the maximum length of time you could be sentenced to in custody for the crime of which you are convicted.
In either case, we may be able to persuade the judge not to order you to serve any jail time as a condition of your release on probation.
Additionally, we may also be able to help you become eligible for a Community Work Project (CWP), Cal-Trans or other form of community service which could reduce or replace any time you are sentenced to serve in jail.
You May Be Able to Have Your Vehicular Manslaughter Charges Dismissed
There is also the possibility that you are not guilty of committing vehicular manslaughter. If your attorney can demonstrate that your conduct was not negligent, the charges against you could be dismissed altogether.
For example, while driving responsibly, you strike a pedestrian who unexpectedly runs in front of your car. You had no opportunity to avoid the collision. The pedestrian doesn’t survive his or her injuries. But, you admitted to having a beer earlier in the day. The District Attorney decides the admission makes you negligent and charges you with vehicular manslaughter.
Clearly, you had no intention of harming anyone. This was an unfortunate, tragic accident. As such, we may be able to argue that the pedestrian caused his or her own death and that you should not be held responsible for killing the person because there was no negligence on your part.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you care about has been charged with committing vehicular manslaughter, you should speak to one of our skilled DUI defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients facing vehicular homicide charges.
Hiring a law firm with a proven track record of success is your best opportunity to limit your criminal liability when it comes to fighting serious charges like vehicular manslaughter. A conviction could send you to jail or prison and result in heavy fines. Our skilled team of attorneys may be able to negotiate a reduction in your sentence and argue for a complete dismissal of the charges against you.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide you with the very best legal representation available. We can help you get the best possible result in your case.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.
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