Driving Behaviors That Can Result in Vehicular Manslaughter Charges
Vehicular manslaughter, unlike homicide, is not a crime of intent. Rather, it involves a driver unintentionally causing an accident that results in the death of another person.
There are a variety of driving behaviors that may result in vehicular manslaughter charges if a fatal accident occurs:
- Negligence: Ordinary careless driving may lead to a vehicular manslaughter charge. This is simply defined as any driving activity that lacks the care a reasonable person would exercise under the circumstances. This includes distracted driving, speeding, failure to yield and other common infractions.
- Criminal/gross negligence: Certain driving behaviors are much more egregious than ordinary negligence. A person who was driving extremely fast with a particularly high blood alcohol content (BAC) and failed to adhere to other rules of the road, for example, would be a prime candidate for gross negligence charges.
- Driving while intoxicated: A driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol would likely be found guilty of vehicular manslaughter charges, unless there are aggravating factors that would lead to more serious charges. These aggravating factors could include extremely high BAC levels, particularly reckless driving behavior or a history of drunk driving on one’s record.
- Asleep at the wheel: This is a particularly common problem in trucking accidents, as truck drivers are often forced to push their limits to meet strict deadlines. However, there are some stringent regulations on the amount of time drivers may remain behind the wheel in a given day.
- Violations of safety regulations: If a driver violates certain safety rules, he or she could be charged with vehicular homicide if their actions resulted in the death of another person. Examples might include having an obscured windshield, passing a vehicle in a “no passing” zone, performing an illegal U-turn or exceeding the speed limit.
If you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter after an accident, consult a skilled La Plata criminal defense attorney at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A.