In the state of Virginia, a person can be guilty of “involuntary manslaughter” (also known as “vehicular manslaughter” and “vehicular homicide”) when the perpetrator driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs causes the death of another person.
What does “under the influence” mean?
Under the statute of vehicular manslaughter, “under the influence” means the person is obviously impaired judging from the person’s “manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior.”
Vehicular manslaughter cannot be charged to a motorist if there is no proof that the intoxication was the legal cause of the death. Three points must be proven:
- It should be established that the driver was intoxicated or impaired. This means that the driver was operating a vehicle while having a blood-alcohol level over 0.08 or while being on any narcotic or hallucinogenic drug.
- There should be a proven traffic law violation (Examples: speeding, swerving) or negligence (Examples: poor car maintenance such as broken tail lights, distracted driving such as using the phone while driving).
- It should be clear that the case of death of the other person was the act of negligence or violation of the law.
As such, it is smart to hire an experienced Virginia DUI attorney who can look into your case and analyze the facts. This will be critical to building up your defense and make sure that you will get the best possible outcome.
What are the Penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter?
There are different possible penalties for specific classes of vehicular manslaughter:
- Vehicular manslaughter is a class 5 felony and carries with it up to 10 years prison time and fines amounting to $2,000.
- Aggravated vehicular manslaughter is charged if the driver’s conduct was gross, wanton and exhibited a reckless disregard for human life. A driver found guilty of aggravated vehicular manslaughter (also called “aggravated involuntary manslaughter”) faces one to 20 years incarceration and pay fines up to $2,500.
- All convicted drivers may also face permanent license revocation and mandatory alcohol safety programs.
A Virginia DUI lawyer who has handled various cases will work to get you off on a lesser charge, if not totally dismiss the case against you. No stone will be left unturned to gather all evidence that will help you in your case.
What kind of lawyer do I need if I am charged with vehicular manslaughter?
Vehicular manslaughter is a serious criminal charge. If you are anyone you know has been arrested for vehicular manslaughter—or any other crime—call our Virginia DUI lawyer immediately. Our lawyers at Fisher Law Firm will work with you to come up with a legal strategy that may get you the best results. Let our Virginia DUI attorneys answer any questions you may have in relation to vehicular manslaughter so that you may be guided on the next step you should take. Feel free to call us for a complimentary initial case consultation