If you killed someone while driving your car in California, you could face vehicular manslaughter charges, depending on how the accident occurred. In addition, depending on your actions leading up to the incident, it’s possible you could face additional criminal charges as well, such as driving under the influence or reckless endangerment. If you or a loved one is charged with vehicular manslaughter in Long Beach, CA, it’s vital to have an attorney on your side who can guide you through the complex legal proceedings you face.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Henry Salcido can provide the comprehensive and compassionate defense counsel you need during a challenging time. It’s natural to be scared and uncertain of your future when faced with vehicular manslaughter charges. If your case involves the death of another person caused by your vehicle, you likely face additional charges as well. We can provide the legal counsel you need to approach your case with clarity, confidence, and understanding of the legal mechanisms in play.
Every American citizen has the right to legal representation when they are accused of committing a crime. The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees legal counsel for every American facing criminal charges, even if they cannot afford an attorney. If you cannot pay for an attorney or do not wish to pay legal fees, the court can appoint a public defender to represent you free of charge. However, do not make the mistake of believing you should stick with a public defender to save money on legal fees. If you have the means to do so, hiring a private Long Beach vehicular manslaughter defense attorney will ensure a more robust defense on your behalf.
Most public defenders are hardworking and dedicated attorneys, but they must manage several cases at a time and typically cannot provide their clients with much in the way of personal attention. A public defender may only be able to provide an hour or so each day to handling your case because they have several other cases in motion at the same time. When you work with a private defense firm like the Law Offices of Henry Salcido, you can expect more individual attention than any public defender could provide. Nevertheless, we will take the time to thoroughly investigate the material evidence in play in your case and guide you to the best possible result allowable under California state laws.
The definition of vehicular manslaughter in the California criminal code is quite clear. When a driver kills another person while driving their vehicle, whether it was intentional, caused by negligence, or done while committing another crime, the driver is guilty of vehicular manslaughter. California defines two types of vehicular manslaughter: vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.
To qualify as vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, the prosecution must establish four critical elements:
If these four components cannot be established, the defendant could face misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter instead. This charge is characterized by causing another person’s death through regular negligence, such as failing to check for pedestrians before executing a turn, running a stop sign, or speeding.
Vehicular manslaughter is a “wobbler” offense in California, meaning that it could qualify as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of the case. If the defendant is charged with additional offenses, such as driving under the influence, a felony-level charge is more likely. The penalties for felony vehicular manslaughter in California include formal probation determined by the judge, fines up to $10,000, and up to six years in prison. At the misdemeanor level, the potential penalties include fines up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, and summary probation. In addition, for both misdemeanor and felony vehicular manslaughter, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will revoke the driver’s license for three years or longer.
It’s important for any defendant in this situation to also understand that if they face additional charges for DUI or other criminal infractions, their sentencing will escalate dramatically. The victim’s family would also have the right to file a wrongful death claim against them. If you are charged with vehicular manslaughter at any level, it’s essential to have legal counsel you can trust on your side.
Defending against vehicular manslaughter charges can be very difficult, especially because the material evidence of the case is abundantly clear, and the prosecution may not need to do much work to compile a very compelling case. If you made a mistake and caused someone’s death, it’s easy to feel like the criminal justice system is pitted against you. The right attorney can provide valuable guidance and help you navigate your case proceedings with confidence.
Time is a critical factor when state prosecutors charge you with any crime in California. After your arrest, you should contact an experienced Long Beach vehicular manslaughter defense attorney as soon as possible so they can begin working on your defense right away. The team at the Law Offices of Henry Salcido can provide the defense counsel you need when facing a vehicular manslaughter case in Long Beach, CA.
If you are ready to discuss your options for defense with a reliable Long Beach Vehicular Manslaughter attorney, contact us today to schedule a consultation with a vehicular manslaughter defense lawyer you can trust.