Considered a crime in most of the United States, vehicular manslaughter is considered either a felony or a misdemeanor manslaughter offense. According to the law, vehicular manslaughter, by definition, means that the driver of a vehicle is being held responsible for the death of another human being which occurred because of criminal negligence or due to death by a traffic violation. The victim, in such cases, may be another individual in the car with the offending driver, or the victim could be a pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, or another motorist or passenger in a separate vehicle. In some states, death to an unborn fetus due to a vehicular manslaughter is equally punishable by law. Vehicular manslaughter is most often charged to individuals who, while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, cause the death of another individual. Because of the nature of vehicular manslaughter charges, hiring a criminal defense attorney is critical.
While it is clear that vehicular manslaughter is a crime, there is room for controversy. In some States, vehicular manslaughter is a separate offense from intoxication manslaughter and carries different penalties and distinctions. Additionally, other States do not carry vehicular manslaughter laws-and efforts have been made in other States to lessen the sentences of those who unwittingly cause the death of individuals in car accidents. An experienced criminal defense attorney, alone, understands the specifics of vehicular manslaughter laws and charges.
Because vehicular manslaughter laws allow for the vehicle to be viewed as a potentially deadly weapon in various cases, it is possible for the court to allow an easier conviction and even press for more severe penalties than those allowed in typical vehicular manslaughter cases. Because of this, it is essential that individuals accused of vehicular manslaughter seek a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney to represent them. Individuals charged with vehicular manslaughter should seek the immediate advice of a criminal lawyer who can discuss the details of the law in State-specific terms and determine the best course of action necessary to pursue available options.
Studies have found that people convicted of vehicular homicide are often given shorter sentences than those guilty of other types of homicide. And while gender does not appear to affect the length of the prison sentence, race does appear to affect sentences-according to statistics. It is important to hire a criminal defense attorney who can navigate the law and assure that the accused is treated fairly.
If you have been accused of vehicular manslaughter, please contact us any time, day or night, for a free and confidential consultation.
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