Recently, an intoxicated motorcyclist named Sean McGinnis crashed into two pedestrians in San Francisco while they were walking along the sidewalk. One of the victims was taken to the hospitals with non-lethal injuries, while the other died. As a result, Mr. McGinnis has been arrested and charged with:
- Felony DUI alcohol causing bodily injury (for the injured pedestrian);
- Felony DUI drugs causing bodily injury; and
- Felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
California Penal Code 191.5 codifies the crime of “vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated” and “gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.” In order to be charged with this crime:
- You must drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs (commit a DUI);
- You must act with negligence or gross negligence; and
- As a result of your negligence, someone must have died.
The penalties for vehicular manslaughter depend on whether you acted with ordinary negligence or gross negligence. If you are found to have acted with ordinary negligence, you will be charged with Penal Code 191.5(b) (“ordinary vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated”). This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, or it can be a wobbler crime leading to a felony punishable by up to 4 years in jail in certain circumstances.
If you are found to have acted with gross negligence, you will be charged with Penal Code 191.5(a) (“gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated”). It is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail.
Your license will be suspended with either conviction.
Vehicular Manslaughter Manslaughter/Gross Vehicular Manslaughter in General
California Penal Code 192(c) codifies the crime of vehicular manslaughter (without the requirement of being under the influence). Prosecutors may still charge you with this crime if they do not gather enough evidence that you were actually under the influence. This crime is still a felony punishable by up to 6 years in jail. It has the possibility of being tried as a misdemeanor depending on one’s circumstances and criminal history, and because it is a lesser charge than vehicular/gross vehicular manslaughter with a DUI, a good defense attorney will try to reduce your charges to this one.
San Diego DUI, Vehicular Assault, and Vehicular Homicide Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, vehicular manslaughter, or gross vehicular manslaughter, first degree or second degree murder or homicide in San Diego County or anywhere in Southern California, it is imperative that you contact an experienced murder and criminal defense attorney right away. Contact the office of David Boertje today for a free consultation.