Vehicular Manslaughter Lawyer in Oakville

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Vehicular Manslaughter Lawyer in Oakville

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What is Vehicular Manslaughter?

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.

Vehicular Manslaughter vs Vehicular Homicide

Vehicular Manslaughter

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.

Vehicular Homicide

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.

Is Vehicular Manslaughter a Felony or Misdemeanor?

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.

Vehicular Manslaughter Causes

  • Driving under the influence (DUI): In a report by Madd-Canada, crashes involving alcohol or drugs are the leading criminal cause of death in Canada. Every single day, up to four Canadians are killed in motor vehicle accidents.
  • Reckless driving: Driving recklessly while operating a motor vehicle can take many different forms. The simplest definition of reckless driving is operating a vehicle in such a way that puts either people or property in danger, whether intentional or not. Drivers can be charged with reckless vehicle operation whether the violation occurred intentionally or unintentionally.
  • Speeding: The driver would have driven well over the speed limit, failed to abide by traffic lights or signals, drove on the wrong side of the road, or failed to stop in time to avoid hitting other cars. This type of situation is referred to as violating a safety statute and is considered more egregious than negligence.
  • Aggressive driving: Aggressive driving is difficult to define because of its many different manifestations but having a clear definition is important for police and legal action against it to succeed. Aggressive driving is a charge that involves behaviors intended to “harass, intimidate, injure, or obstruct” other motorists.
  • Distracted driving: Vehicular manslaughter can also be charged when accidents happen after drivers violate a safety statute. For instance, many states require windshields to be clear. When a death results from the driver’s inability to see through an obscured windshield, a manslaughter charge may follow.
  • Road rage: It is when a person commits an act of violence against another road user. This includes using your car as a weapon, dueling another vehicle in a reckless chase, retaliating against a driver that cut you off by nudging their bumper or getting out of your vehicle and brandishing a weapon with the intent to injure the other driver.

Penalties and Sentencing

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.

Contact us

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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