Vehicular Manslaughter in California

Anaheim DUI Manslaughter Attorney

If you were in a car accident that resulted in the death of another, we understand the stress and anxiety that you are feeling, especially if you are facing charges for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.Tragic accidents are all too common, and we know how difficult it is to move forward from them. Our Anaheim DUI lawyers at The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs, want to ensure that your rights are protected, so that you are not punished unlawfully.

Our attorneys have extensive experience dealing with all types of traffic accidents and DUI charges. One of the most serious types of traffic offense is vehicular manslaughter. In California, this is referred to as "Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated" of "Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated" in the penal code. If you or someone you love is facing vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated charges, it is essential that you retain the proven representation of our criminal defense attorneys.


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California Vehicular Manslaughter Law

As serious as a driving under the influence charge is alone, it becomes even more severe when coupled with a vehicular manslaughter charge. As these involve the death of another individual involved in the accident, the nature of these matters is extremely sensitive. California law is harsh toward individuals convicted of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, thus, you need an Anaheim criminal defense attorney who is compassionate and dedicated to fighting for you.

Vehicular and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is defined by § 191.5 of the California penal code:

(b) Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle, where the driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and the killing was either the result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, but without gross negligence, or the result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, but without gross negligence.

To put it simply, there are three factors involved in a manslaughter case:

  1. You were driving under the influence
  2. You committed an additional wrongful act while driving
  3. This DUI and additional wrongful act resulted in the death of another person

Here, an "additional wrongful act" is usually some kind of traffic infraction or misdemeanor such as reckless driving or speeding. In order to be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, your accident must have been particularly egregious. In many cases, charging one or the other is up to the discretion of the court.

This type of offense could have the following consequences:

  • Up to 10 years in prison for a first offense
  • Up to life imprisonment if you have 1 prior vehicular manslaughter conviction or multiple prior DUI convictions.
  • Thousands of dollars in fines
  • Required to pay restitution to the victim's family
  • Increased insurance rates or canceled policy
  • License revocation for a minimum of 4 months up to 3 years

Defenses Against DUI Manslaughter

In order for the state to prove that you are guilty of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, a prosecutor will need to prove that you were driving under the influence. This means retaining results from field sobriety tests, including breath, blood, or urine tests that analyze your blood alcohol content (BAC). In California, your BAC must have been over the limit of 0.08% in order to be considered "under the influence." However, if you are a commercial vehicle driver, the limit is lowered to 0.04%, and a zero tolerance law exists if you are under the age of 21.

When facing DUI vehicular manslaughter charges, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and restricted by your situation. However, we want you to know that you do have options. For example, BAC tests are not always accurate and are also often handled incorrectly or not according to standard protocol. Any mistakes in the testing or analyzing of blood alcohol content can work in your favor. At The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs, we will do everything in our power to fully investigate your case to fight for a dismissal or reduction of penalties.

If your charges were reduced to reckless driving, for example, you will not have to face the ramifications of a DUI such as license suspension, imprisonment and fines. However, you may still be required to pay restitution to the deceased person's dependents. Getting a vehicular manslaughter charged reduced or dismissed may be difficult, but it is not impossible. By challenging the evidence, you may not have to leave with a § 191.5 conviction on your criminal record.

Experienced, Trusted Legal Counsel

A fatal accident will live with you for the rest of your life; you should not have to face wrongful convictions on top of it. Facing charges for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated can be extremely stressful, but you are not alone. Our Anaheim DUI attorneys can be in your corner every step of the way to give you your best chance at freedom so that you can move forward. With more than 30 years of experience, you can trust that our AV Rated® law firm can get the job done for you.

Call our firm for the compassionate representation you need!