Negligence and Gross Negligence in California Vehicular Homicide Cases
If you have been involved in an auto accident in which someone was killed, you could be charged with vehicular homicide. However, vehicular homicide can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the circumstances of your case. If you acted with ordinary negligence and you have no prior criminal record, you may be charged with a misdemeanor. If you acted with gross negligence, you will likely be charged with a felony.
Vehicular Homicide – Elements of the Crime (California Penal Code Section 192(c)(2)) 1
In order to be convicted of vehicular manslaughter in California under Penal Code Section 192(c)(2), the prosecution will have to prove that you:
- Committed an unlawful act while driving a vehicle,
- The unlawful act could produce death,
- You committed the unlawful act with ordinary negligence, and
- The act caused the death of another person
Vehicular homicide caused by an unlawful act committed with ordinary negligence is a misdemeanor crime in California. Ordinary negligence is defined as failing to use a reasonable care to prevent harm to yourself or someone else. Ordinary negligence could mean that you failed to act in a way that reasonable person would have in that circumstance, or that you acted in a way that a reasonable person would not have when faced with the situation you were faced with.
Vehicular homicide caused by gross negligence is a felony in California. Gross negligence goes beyond not paying attention to the road or being careless behind the wheel. Gross negligence occurs if you:
- Act in way that creates a high risk of great bodily injury or death, and
- Act in a way that a reasonable person would have known would cause such a risk
Penalties for Vehicular Homicide (California Penal Code Section 192(c)(2))
Misdemeanor vehicular homicide involving ordinary negligence is punished by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Under PC 192(c)(2), vehicular homicide involving gross negligence is a felony punishable by a two, four, or six year sentence in California state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If You are Facing Vehicular Homicide Charges Call Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with felony or misdemeanor vehicular homicide it is absolutely critical that you contact a Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney immediately. Our skilled attorneys have over 40 years of experience successfully defending clients charged with vehicle homicide, with both ordinary and gross negligence. We will analyze the facts of your case and plan a defense strategy that will help you get the very best outcome possible in your case.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5425 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.