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How is gross vehicular manslaughter charged

Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in California is charged as a felony under Penal Code 191.5(a). It involves operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causing the death of another person, with a disregard for human life and a wanton disregard for safety. The punishment for this crime can include imprisonment for four to ten years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Driving under the influence (DUI) causing death is a criminal offense. If convicted, the penalties can include fines, imprisonment, license suspension, and/or community service. The specific consequences depend on the laws of the jurisdiction in which the offense occurred, but in many cases, a DUI causing death is classified as a felony and can result in years in prison. It is also considered a serious crime with severe legal consequences due to the potential for harm to others on the road.

Accident Involving Death

If you are involved in an accident that causes death, it is important to remain at the scene and call emergency services. If you are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be subjected to sobriety tests and could be arrested. Depending on the circumstances of the accident and the laws in your jurisdiction, you could face charges such as vehicular manslaughter, DUI, or reckless driving. It is advisable to seek legal representation as soon as possible, as the consequences of a conviction for this type of offense can be severe, including imprisonment, fines, and a criminal record.

DUI Murder

In some jurisdictions, a DUI causing death may be charged as "DUI murder" or "vehicular homicide." To be charged with this crime, it must be shown that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating a vehicle and that the driver's actions directly caused the death of another person. The specific elements of the offense and the evidence required to prove it vary by jurisdiction, but generally, prosecutors must show that the driver was impaired and that their impairment caused the accident that resulted in the death. If convicted, the penalties for DUI murder can be severe, including lengthy prison sentences and significant fines.


The elements of the offense of vehicular manslaughter vary by jurisdiction, but in general, the prosecution must prove the following:

  1. The defendant was operating a vehicle
  2. The defendant's actions were illegal or negligent
  3. The defendant's actions directly caused the death of another person
  4. The defendant acted with "gross negligence," meaning they acted with a conscious disregard for the safety of others

The specific definition of "gross negligence" and the specific actions that qualify as illegal or negligent vary by jurisdiction. For example, some states consider driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol to be evidence of gross negligence, while others require a more severe level of recklessness. The exact elements of the crime and the evidence required to prove it will depend on the laws of the jurisdiction in which the offense occurred.


Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. We here at the H Law Group patiently await your call.

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