Driving under the influence (DUI) in Los Angeles can endanger other drivers on the road. Sometimes, driving after drinking alcohol causes a driver to wreck their vehicle. These accidents lead to fatalities in some cases.
Is it involuntary manslaughter if someone dies in a drunk driving accident? In general, California does not use involuntary manslaughter charges to prosecute drunk driving fatalities. Instead, the state uses two specific charges:
- Penal Code 191.5b: Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated (Regular Negligence) OR
- Penal Code 191.5a: Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
Let’s find out more about these criminal charges right here.
Manslaughter Charges for Drunk Driving in California
California uses two primary charges to prosecute vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Both of these charges only apply to people who were driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. These drivers must then commit:
- An infraction
- A misdemeanor OR
- A dangerous but lawful act
Drivers must also demonstrate negligence. Negligence involves acting in a way that puts other people in danger. Generally, drivers who are negligent do not act in a reasonable manner. Gross negligence often involves taking a step that you know will threaten someone else’s life.
Information About Involuntary Manslaughter in California
The court system prosecutes involuntary manslaughter using Penal Code 192b. Involuntary manslaughter occurs if someone causes another person’s death. The accused must commit an infraction, misdemeanor, or dangerous lawful act to face this charge.
Generally, involuntary manslaughter charges are not used for motor vehicle accidents. The state uses vehicular manslaughter charges to prosecute fatal car accident cases. Note that the court also uses charges for:
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Attempted murder
Attempted murder and murder are some of the most serious charges in California. These charges can lead to life in prison. In some cases, murder charges can even lead to the death penalty here in California.
Results of a PC 191.5 or 191.5b Conviction in California
PC 191.5a and 191.5b are not prosecuted in the exact same way in California. PC 191.5b is considered a wobbler. These charges are treated as either misdemeanors or felonies. Drivers face different penalties depending upon the type of charge they face. For a PC 191.5b misdemeanor, they may face:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to one year
However, a felony conviction may result in:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Prison time of up to four years
PC 191.5a charges are handled more harshly. Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is always a felony in California. Individuals convicted of this act face:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Prison time of up to 10 years
A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer may help you learn more about these charges. Allow a lawyer to discuss all vehicular manslaughter accusations with you now. Reach us by calling (310) 862-0199. We’re ready to review the legal system in California with you.
Defenses for Vehicular Manslaughter While Under the Influence
You can contact a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles if you’re charged under PC 191.5a or 191.5b. Members of our team are ready to assess your situation right now. We’re prepared to investigate your case and work on your defense. This may involve showing that:
You Did Not Cause the Accident
You should only face charges for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated if you caused the collision. Perhaps you were driving under the influence. This does not mean that you took actions that lead to a wreck. Another driver may be at-fault for the accident. Let us review the facts of your cast.
You Were Not Under the Influence
Sometimes, drivers are accused of operating a vehicle under the influence when they did not. We are ready to dispute the results of any blood alcohol content (BAC) tests you took. This can help show that you were sober at the time of the accident.
You Weren’t Demonstrating Negligence
You must show negligence to face a PC 191.5a or 191.5b conviction. Negligence involves acting in an unreasonable or dangerous way. Perhaps you acting as a reasonable person would in your situation and still ended up in an accident. A lawyer can work to build your defense in this situation.
Talk to a Lawyer About Drunk Driving and Involuntary Manslaughter
Fatal drunk driving accidents are not considered involuntary manslaughter in California. The state uses vehicular manslaughter charges to prosecute these accidents. Convictions lead to incarceration and fines. Build a defense for these charges with a member of our team. Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer right now. Just call (310) 862-0199. You can also complete our online contact form.
Allow us to focus on your needs with a free consultation.