Anytime a driver gets behind the wheel after he or she has been drinking could result in arrest and serious criminal charges being brought. While most DUI charges are filed as misdemeanors, it is common knowledge that alcohol consumption impairs one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle and that drunk drivers are some of the least safe on the road. If a drunk driver causes an accident which results in the death of another, they may be charged with vehicular manslaughter under Penal Code 191.5.
When a person is facing a vehicular manslaughter charge, their family should contact a DUI attorney who has handled similar cases and can devote sufficient time and resources to beating the charge or negotiating the best possible deal with the prosecution.
Depending on the specific facts of the case, the sentencing range for a DUI manslaughter can be as little as one year in county jail under Penal Code 191.5(b) if no gross negligence exists, to a four, six or ten year prison sentence under Penal Code 191.5(a) if gross negligence is found.
In addition to the maximum sentencing range, a Penal Code 191.5 vehicular manslaughter charge is a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law, which will serve to double the base sentencing term for future felony conduct and also reduce the custody credits a defendant could earn on subsequent offenses.
Under Penal Code 191.5(d), if a driver is convicted of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated and has a prior conviction for a similar offense, the defendant may be sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison.
It is very important for any person charged with a vehicular manslaughter to seek legal counsel right away to prevent the catastrophic effects associated with a conviction. For an aggressive lawyer who is also understanding and compassionate, contact our office today for a consultation about your matter.
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