Defending Against Vehicular Manslaughter Charges in California

One of the most tragic types of fatal automobile accidents occurs when no ill will is involved, no road rage, no deliberate drinking and driving, and no reckless speeding. One example of this type of tragedy is when one drives while unaware of the potentially dangerous side effects of a prescription drug. The side effect can be from either taking the drug or from failing to take the drug as directed. Specifically, some drugs can cause drowsiness, audio-visual distortions, or even seizures. The same is true for failure to consistently take a medication that is intended to protect against drowsiness, audio-visual distortions, or seizures.  

When one of these side effects occurs while a driver is on the road, terrible tragedies can ensue.  The law does not withhold liability if you were unaware of the dangers of driving coupled with the potential side effects of a medication. As such, if you have been involved in a fatal car accident in which you experienced with side effects of a medication or its absence, you may still be convicted in spite of your lack of awareness. Vehicular manslaughter is one criminal charge applicable to the type of tragedy in question. If you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter in the state of California, you need a skilled and experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney. With a conviction bringing serious penalties including fines and jail time, so you need a skilled attorney to fight to protect your legal rights.

Vehicular Manslaughter is Typically a Crime of Negligence

Vehicular manslaughter is the proper criminal charge when an act of negligence while driving an automobile causes a fatality. Negligence is the breach of a duty of care owed to another that results in damages. In the driving context, the duty in question is the duty of safe driving in accordance with the rules and regulations of the road. This duty can be breached in a variety of fashions while behind the wheel: excessive speeding, swerving, driving while distracted (e.g. text messaging), drinking and driving, and much more. With regard to the prescription drug/ medication context, breaches include drowsy driving, driving while experiencing audio/visual distortions, and driving while experiencing a seizure. The damages are the injuries and/or fatalities suffered by the victims.  

Depending on the specific facts of incident in question, whether it is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony, and your criminal background or lack thereof, penalties for conviction on vehicular manslaughter charges include jail time between one and six years and fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. It may seem harsh for the law to hold you liable when your driving was compromised by unexpected medication side effects, but that is the reality. If you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter in the state of California, contact a skilled and experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney.