Vehicular Manslaughter


California’s vehicular manslaughter laws (PC 191.5 & 192) punish acts of driving that kill another person when the driver drives in an unlawful way, with or without gross negligence, or drives during the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner, or knowingly causes the accident for financial gain. Vehicular manslaughter is known as a “wobbler”. If convicted under a felony vehicular manslaughter, you may face two to ten years in state prison. If convicted under a misdemeanor, you may face up to one year in county jail.

In the state of California, depending on the degree of recklessness and whether alcohol was involved, a person could be charged with progressively more serious offenses: vehicular manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, or second-degree murder. In any of these cases, the prosecution must prove that the driver committed some wrongful act (which could be a felony, a misdemeanor, an infraction, or a lawful act that might cause death) and that the wrongful act caused the collision and the death of the victim. Murder charges are usually reserved for the most egregious cases, such as a convicted DUI offender who drives recklessly while intoxicated and thereby causes a fatal collision.