You will face harsh penalties if you are accused of manslaughter while intoxicated. This is one example of a charge for driving under the influence (DUI) in California. Many drivers wonder how many years of incarceration they’d get for DUI manslaughter charges.
The penalties for DUI manslaughter vary, depending upon whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. However, you can end up spending up to 10 years in prison, in some cases. Dig into the results of a DUI manslaughter conviction in detail right here.
What Is DUI Manslaughter?
This term is defined as the actions of a reckless or negligent individual that ultimately result in the loss of another person’s life. This loss of life can happen with no hostile or prior intent.
Normally, a DUI manslaughter offense involves alcohol or other illegal substances that cause negligent actions. Many state laws will categorize a DUI Manslaughter offense in two ways. These two offenses include:
This type of negligence occurs when an intoxicated driver is involved or causes an accident due to a brief lapse of focus. For example, this type of negligence could be charged if the driver reaches into the seat next to them to retrieve something, or answers a text, yielding a fatal accident.
However, once the driver’s blood alcohol content is tested, a DUI will be given if above the legal limit.
This other type of negligence is caused when impaired drivers travel at high speeds, drive on the wrong side of the road, or even run traffic lights due to their impairment. Ultimately, if any of these violations cause death to another person, DUI manslaughter will be charged.
Types of DUI Manslaughter Charges in California
It’s important to consider that California has more than one charge used to prosecute DUI manslaughter. These charges are not handled the exact same way in the court system. Depending upon your situation, you can face charges under:
Penal Code 191.5(a): Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
PC 191.5(a) is the more serious charge used to prosecute DUI manslaughter. Individuals face this charge if they drive while intoxicated and:
- Commit a dangerous act or perform an infraction or misdemeanor,
- Display gross negligence, AND
- Cause an accident that results in a fatality
Individuals display gross negligence by acting in a very reckless way. They must drive in a way that a reasonable person would see as dangerous. They must also know that they could cause someone else a severe injury or death. PC 191.5(a) is always handled as a felony.
Penal Code 191.5(b): Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated – Ordinary Negligence
Drivers can also face PC 191.5(b) charges. These charges are less serious than a PC 191.5(a) offense. However, they still involve causing an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol and acting in a dangerous way. PC 191.5(b) charges may be treated as misdemeanors or felonies.
Incarceration for DUI Manslaughter Charges in California
All DUI manslaughter charges could lead to time in jail or prison. Let’s focus on the penalties for these charges right now. You can face:
- Up to one year of jail time for a misdemeanor PC 191.5(b) conviction
- Up to four years of prison time for a felony PC 191.5(b) conviction
- Up to 10 years of prison time for a PC 191.5(a) conviction
You may face other penalties if you are convicted of DUI manslaughter in California. You can also face fines of up to $10,000 in some cases. Additionally, the court may choose to revoke your license. License revocation is more common in PC 191.5(a) cases.
You should reach out to a Los Angeles DUI lawyer if you were charged with DUI manslaughter. Members of our team are standing by to assess your case right now. Reach out to us for help and let us build a defense for you right now.
Other Kinds of Vehicular Manslaughter in California
You should know that there are other charges for vehicular manslaughter in California. You may face these charges if you were not impaired by alcohol at the time of the accident. DUI manslaughter charges only apply if your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit.
The legal limit for alcohol use in California is usually 0.08%. However, the limit is lower for some drivers, including commercial drivers and drivers under the age of 21. It is against the law to strike and kill someone else even if you were not drinking alcohol at the time of the collision.
Defenses for DUI Manslaughter Charges in California
You can face a lot of time behind bars if you are convicted of DUI manslaughter in California. However, you do not have to simply accept a DUI manslaughter charge. You can contact a DUI lawyer to get legal help on your side. A lawyer will work to show that:
- You were not impaired at the time of the accident
- You did not actually cause the collision
- Your actions did not lead to another person’s death
Getting your charges dismissed or reduced could allow you to avoid jail or prison time. Additionally, securing a verdict in your favor could help you avoid a conviction.
What if You Have a Solid Defense for Your DUI Manslaughter Charges?
Generally, the most common defense strategies for these types of charges turn the tables on collected evidence, which include surveillance videos, witness statements, blood and breath tests, and even expert testimonies.
Here are some examples of how to reduce or dismiss a vehicular manslaughter charge:
- What if you did not cause the accident and were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Your case might be entirely dismissed.
- What if you were intoxicated but were not at fault for the accident? Your charge could be reduced to a misdemeanor if you have a clean driving record within the past seven years and have had no previous convictions.
- What if the police misconducted the investigation? If the police performed illegal searches, forced a confession, or administered any required test incorrectly, your case could be entirely dismissed.
Ask a Lawyer How Many Years You Get for DUI Manslaughter
You could end up getting 10 years of prison time for a DUI manslaughter conviction. Fortunately, you can take steps to handle these charges right now. Just reach out to a Los Angeles DUI lawyer.
You should contact a member of our team now to get a free consultation. We’re ready to help you face these charges. Additionally, you can also complete our online contact form.