An unlawful killing of a human being without “malice” is called manslaughter. There are three kinds. Voluntary, where death occurs as the result of a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion; Involuntary, where death occurs during the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony, or an act done without due caution or circumspection; and Vehicular.
Penalties for vehicular manslaughter depend on the circumstances of the case. Driving a vehicle in an unlawful manner, but without gross negligence, causing death, is punishable up to one year in jail. An example might be inadvertently running a stop sign and hitting someone in the cross walk. Unlawful driving with gross negligence carries up to six years in state prison. An example here might be driving 60 mph in a 25 mph school zone.
Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, with gross negligence, carries a prison term of up to 10 years, and in some instances, the case may be filed as a second degree murder carrying a 15 years to life prison sentence.
Sal Ciulla has over 35 years experience handling serious criminal cases such as vehicular manslaughter. Any case involving a death is, of course, extremely serious. Which means the stakes are very high for the defendant. These cases often turn on a lawyer’s experience with issues such as DUI defense, proximate cause of death, and accident reconstruction. Don’t go to court unprepared. There is no substitute for experience.