Elements of Vehicular Manslaughter
Not every death from a car accident results in any charges being filed against the driver responsible. If the driver is reckless nor negligent, chances are that they will be charged with vehicular manslaughter, also known as vehicular homicide. Vehicular manslaughter does not require that you intend to kill anyone. To be proven guilty of this crime, it must be proved that beyond a reasonable doubt the driver was operating their vehicle recklessly or in a grossly negligent manner. It also must be proved that this behavior caused the death of the other person.
What Makes a Driver Grossly Negligent
Showing gross negligence or recklessness can be from many different facts. If the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will be shown to be grossly negligent. Even if the drugs are prescribed and you ignore the warning to not operate heavy machinery, you will likely be found guilty. Certain traffic laws that include but are not limited to speeding, deliberately running a red light, or texting while driving will also result in your guilt. The extent of the negligence determines whether you will be charged with vehicular manslaughter or aggravated vehicular manslaughter, the second being a felony carrying stiffer penalties.
Defenses Against Vehicular Manslaughter
A defendant will often argue that other factors came into play that they had no control over like the weather other drivers or even the driving of the victim caused the accident. If the defendant was found to be under the influence, you may be able to challenge the results of the lab tests. Also, car malfunctions that the driver did not know about may also be a good defense if the malfunction played a part in the accident.
If you are involved in an accident where someone ends up dying, contact a Austin Car Accident Lawyer right away. They will be able to help you in finding a defense if you are charged with vehicular manslaughter.