Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated

Vehicular Manslaughter Attorneys

Penal Code section 191.5 (b) codifies the crime of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated - ordinary negligence. This is a serious "wobbler" offense, meaning it can be alleged as a misdemeanor or felony, and carries a maximum punishment of 4 years in the county jail. 

To prove that a person committed this offense, a prosecutor must prove the following:

  1. A person drove while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, the combined influence of alcohol and drugs, or with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher; 
  2. While driving under the influence of one of the above, the person committed a misdemeanor or infraction in addition to driving under the influence, or committed an otherwise lawful act that might cause death;
  3. The defendant committed the additional misdemeanor or infraction or otherwise lawful act with ordinary negligence; and
  4. The person's negligent act caused the death of another person.

This offense is different from gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in that it requires the prosecutor to prove ordinary negligence as opposed to gross negligence. Ordinary negligence is the failure of a person to use reasonable care to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm.

Defenses to Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated

For over 30 years our firm has defended hundreds of serious DUI cases. Our firm wrote the leading treatise on DUI defense used by DUI attorneys across the country. 

We have obtained favorable outcomes by focusing our defenses in the following areas:

  • The person was not under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or the combined influence of both. Please see our section on DUI defenses for an exhaustive list of potential defenses. 
  • The person was not at fault for the accident. If the person did not cause the accident by some negligent act, they are not guilty of this offense. Our firm uses the best accident reconstructionists to determine the cause and at fault party of any accident. 

Potential Punishments for Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with ordinary negligence is a "wobbler" offense. This means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony under Penal Code section 191.5 (b). As a misdemeanor, the offense carries a maximum punishment of one-year in the county jail. As a felony, the offense carries a maximum punishment of 4 years in the county jail under Penal Code section 1170 (h).

Who You Hire Makes the Difference

Gressley & Donaldson has defended thousands of DUI cases, and our lawyers train other attorneys across the nation on DUI defense. Our firm wrote the leading treatise on DUI defense, which is used by lawyers across the country. Who you hire can make all the difference in your case. Call us today at (951) 319-3199 to get our team of DUI lawyers on your case. 

Gressley & Donaldson has offices in Temecula and Riverside, and practices throughout Riverside, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Murrieta, and Orange County. 

We understand that being accused of a crime is one of the most challenging times of your life. Rely on us to advocate for your rights and to give you the defense you deserve.


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