Under California law, the basic difference between a murder charge and a manslaughter charge is that in a manslaughter charge, a person did not intentionally kill another. However, the charge of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated generally means that the person facing the charges acted in a way that they knew was risky and as a result of those actions, one or more lives were lost. The penalties for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated can be a state prison sentence of between 4 and 10 years. Additional injuries or deaths can enhance the sentence. Having a previous DUI or manslaughter conviction can also enhance penalties.
KTLA reports on a woman facing gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated charges in the death of two friends, who were passengers while she allegedly drove drunk.
30-year-old Taisha Warie Welch was behind the wheel of a BMW X5 on April 27th when she lost control and the vehicle flipped several times.
Two of her passengers, one of them a mother of five, were killed in the accident. Both 24-year-old Danesha Stewart and 30-year-old Jenetta Williams were killed when they were ejected from the rolling vehicle.
Welch is facing two counts of felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, felony DUI resulting in injury, driving with a BAC of .08% causing injury, and driving on a revoked or suspended license.
Welch has pleaded not guilty to all charges. She was being held on $460,000 bond and has a scheduled court appearance on May 17th.
Authorities believe that Welch may have been speeding and may have run at least one red light before losing control of the vehicle.