If you are involved in a hit and run accident causing the death of another, you will not automatically be charged with vehicular manslaughter. Although the two crimes sometimes involve similar circumstances, they are not identical.
Difference Between Hit And Run And Vehicular Manslaughter
To convict you of a hit and run causing the death of another person, the prosecution must show that:
(1) You were involved in a vehicle accident while driving
(2) The accident caused the death of another
(3) You knew that you had been involved in an accident that caused injury or death to another person, or you knew that given the circumstances of the accident it was probable that another person had been injured or killed; AND
(4) You failed to stop immediately at the scene of the accident and provide reasonable assistance to any injured person involved
In addition, you also have a duty to notify law enforcement of the accident if it resulted in the death of another and to provide information about yourself and the vehicle to a peace officer at the scene of the accident. The prosecution may use these facts against you in your hit and run case if you did not perform that duty.
In contrast, in order to convict you for vehicular manslaughter, the prosecution must prove that:
(1) While driving a vehicle, you committed a misdemeanor, infraction, or otherwise lawful act in an unlawful manner
(2) The act was dangerous to human life under the circumstances of its commission
(3) You acted with ordinary negligence; AND
(4) Your actions caused the death of another person
In other words, in order to convict you for vehicular manslaughter, the prosecution must show you acted negligently, or without reasonable care, and your actions resulted in the death of another. A hit and run conviction only requires that you flee the scene after the accident.
A hit and run accident that causes death can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor conviction carries a sentence of up to one year in county jail. A felony conviction can result in imprisonment in state prison for up to four years.
Vehicular manslaughter can also be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony (PC 193). If you are charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, you face a sentence of up to one year in county jail. If you are charged with felony vehicular manslaughter you can face up to 10 years in state prison. In addition, if you are charged with vehicular manslaughter and flee the scene, you may face five additional years in state prison.
California Hit and Run Defense Attorney
The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients against hit and run causing the death of another and vehicular manslaughter charges. If you were involved in a hit and run, you may face severe consequences. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are knowledgeable about the law and will help you present the best possible defense available under the circumstances of your case. We have offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina, Victorville, Torrance and Sherman Oaks. Call Wallin & Klarich today at 1-877-4-NO-JAIL or 1-877-466-5245. We will get through this together.