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Drivers who unintentionally cause accidents that result in the deaths of passengers, occupants of other cars, or pedestrians may find themselves charged with the crime of vehicular manslaughter (also known as vehicular homicide). Vehicular manslaughter charges are appropriate when the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving recklessly (or merely carelessly), or otherwise driving in an illegal manner each state specifies the circumstances that will support charging this crime.
Canada’s Traffic Control Law defines the separate crime of DUI manslaughter, which occurs when a person illegally operates a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol and in so doing “causes or contributes to causing the death of any human being or unborn child”. Like vehicular homicide, vehicular/DUI manslaughter is a second degree felony unless it involves the factor of failing to give information or aid, in which case it is a first degree felony.
Roadways are a dangerous place and home to countless accidents everyday. When accidents turn deadly, drivers may wind up facing serious felony convictions for causing the death of another human being. A charge of vehicular homicide can be brought against a person who unintentionally kills another person as a result of operating a motor vehicle. Common vehicular homicide cases involve drunk driving, substance abuse, reckless driving, speeding, texting while driving, or other kinds of grossly negligent driving behavior. Under criminal code, a charge of vehicular homicide can also be maintained for fleeing the scene of an accident that resulted in death.
Vehicular manslaughter can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the province and the facts of each case. In addition, many provinces do not charge crimes based on a felony/misdemeanor basis, but through degrees. If a person commits a minor misdemeanor traffic offense, the offense of Vehicular Manslaughter is a second degree misdemeanor carrying up to 90 days in jail and a driver’s license suspension for six months to three years. If certain criteria are present, the offense level and potential sentence are increased.
If a driver causes an accident while driving slightly over the speed limit, they will usually face lesser charges or punishment than if they had caused one while driving drunk. The distinction between a misdemeanor sentence and a felony sentence is the amount of time served. The maximum misdemeanor jail time, even with gross negligence, is one year in county jail. For a felony vehicular manslaughter charge, the maximum sentence is 6 years in province prison.
Many provinces recognize different degrees of vehicular manslaughter. Statutes typically authorize more severe punishment for vehicular manslaughter convictions involving drunk or drugged drivers, as opposed to convictions based on non-DUI traffic offenses. The maximum penalty for dangerous driving causing death is 14 years’ imprisonment. If the vehicular fatality was caused by any of the above provisions, the maximum penalty could be life imprisonment. Those who are sentenced to life imprisonment are eligible to apply for parole after serving 7 years. As with any life sentence, there is no guarantee of parole.
When charged with a serious crime such as vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, you need a DUI Manslaughter lawyer that will fight for you using an effective defensive strategy. There are several defenses available that could result in a dismissal or reduction of your charge.Vehicular manslaughter charges are very serious in nature. A conviction can easily mean years behind bars as well as the loss of a driver’s license and other significant penalties. A DUI defense lawyer may be able to get felony charges reduced to a misdemeanor charge or other reduced charge that corresponds with a less serious penalty.
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