Driving a vehicle is a massive responsibility that requires undivided attention and care. If a driver lacks these things, driving can become extremely dangerous and may even result in the injury or death of another person, whether intentional or not. According to California Penal Code 192, vehicular manslaughter occurs when a driver commits either a lawful or unlawful act (but not a felony) behind the wheel that results in death. In either case, the driver may have been guilty of gross negligence, or knowingly acted in a careless way that resulted in bodily injury. In order for a case to be considered vehicular manslaughter, death must be in direct result of the driver’s action.
There are cases in which an individual who is seeking financial gain will purposely drive recklessly to cause damage to their vehicle so that they can collect an insurance payout. If a person is killed while doing so, the driver can be charged with a specific class of vehicular manslaughter in which the motive is financial.
Penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter
Vehicular manslaughter can result in a range of punitive actions, depending on the circumstances of the crime. If vehicular manslaughter is committed with gross negligence, the perpetrator can be charged with a misdemeanor or, worse, a felony. If they receive a felony charge, the convicted individual could see up to six years in a California state prison facility, probation, and a fine.
A misdemeanor charge with gross negligence can result in one year in county jail, probation, and a fine.
If vehicular manslaughter occurs while the perpetrator is attempting to commit auto insurance fraud, they could see a sentence of up to ten years in a California State prison