Have you been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter in Los Angeles? Your future is at stake, so it is incredibly important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call The Rodriguez Law Group to learn about how we can help you minimize the consequences of your recent arrest. Our team, led by former prosecutor Ambrosio Rodriguez, understands that a conviction would have devastating consequences for you and your family.
We will aggressively fight the charges against you and do everything in our power to secure the best possible outcome in your case. It is important to act quickly, so do not hesitate to call our criminal defense attorneys today.
Gross Vehicular Manslaughter
If, after consuming enough alcohol to dull your judgment, you get behind the wheel of a car you put yourself and others at an increased risk of serious harm. If you are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol you can face serious DUI and/or Felony DUI charges. If you kill another person while driving drunk you will face even more serious criminal charges for gross vehicular manslaughter.
Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, as defined in California Penal Code 191.5 PC, occurs when:
- You drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol;
- While driving, you also commit a misdemeanor, infraction, or otherwise lawful act that could result in death;
- You commit this act with gross negligence; and
- Your grossly negligent conduct causes another person’s death.
What is Gross Negligence?
It is important to note that simply driving under the influence is not enough to warrant criminal charges for gross vehicular manslaughter. Similarly, driving drunk and breaking a minor traffic law is not enough to warrant criminal charges for gross vehicular manslaughter.
In order to be convicted for gross vehicular manslaughter you must (1) drive under the influence, and (2) act with gross negligence. In order to establish that you acted with gross negligence, the prosecution will have to prove:
- You acted in a reckless way that created a high risk of death or great bodily injury, and
- A reasonable person would have known that acting this way created such a risk.
This basically means that your conduct was so outrageous that it created a substantial risk of significant physical injuries and/or death. In order to figure out if your conduct was grossly negligent ask yourself: “would a reasonable person in the same situation have known the behavior was dangerous and put others at risk?” If the answer is yes, then your conduct will be considered grossly negligent.
For example, California law requires all vehicles to come to a complete stop at red traffic signals and stop signs.
What happens if you are driving under the influence, roll through a stop sign, and subsequently cause a fatal crash? The question comes down to whether your violation of the law should be considered ordinary negligence or gross negligence. Does rolling through a stop sign create an unjustifiable risk of harm or death? Most likely, no.
As a result, you would probably face criminal charges (and less serious penalties) for vehicular manslaughter. If, however, instead of rolling through a stop sign you sped through a red light while evading police, your conduct will be considered that of gross negligence.
There is a big difference between rolling through a stop sign at a low speed and racing through a crowded intersection against the light at excessive speeds to avoid arrest.
Penalties for Gross Vehicular Manslaughter
Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is a felony offense in Los Angeles. If you are convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter your criminal sentence can include any combination of the following penalties:
- 4, 6, or 10 years in a California state prison,
- $10,000 in criminal fines,
- Formal probation,
- Suspension and/or revocation of your driver’s license,
- Mandatory installation of a BAIID, and/or
- Successful completion of drug and/or alcohol treatment programs.
Some crimes in California are known as strike offenses and have added consequences. Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is a strike for the purposes of California’s Three Strikes law and, if you are convicted, will expose you to increased criminal penalties for all future felony crimes. If you are convicted of another felony, you will be sentenced to twice the time in prison that is normally imposed for that crime. If you are convicted of a third serious felony, you will face between 25 years to life in prison.
Defenses to Gross Vehicular Manslaughter
When you are charged with a crime in Los Angeles you have the right to defend yourself. The arguments you use in your defense can help to explain why you are not guilty, identify that the state has insufficient evidence against you, and minimize the consequences of your alleged behavior. Defenses that may be helpful in your Los Angeles case for gross vehicular manslaughter include:
- You were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
- There are issues with the reliability and results of the BAC testing,
- There is no evidence that you were under the influence of alcohol,
- Your conduct did not amount to gross negligence,
- Someone or something else caused the victim’s death, or
- Evidence in your case was obtained in violation of your rights.
Fighting Gross Vehicular Manslaughter Charges in Los Angeles
If you have been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as you can. If you do not defend yourself against these charges you will be sentenced to years in prison, be required to pay substantial fines, and lose your driving privileges for a period of time. Having this conviction on your criminal record can prevent you from getting a job or renting an apartment. If you have children, you may risk losing custody and/or the right to see your children. If you rely on government programs for assistance, you can also lose the ability to collect benefits.
Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez can help to limit the consequences of your arrest. As a former Senior Deputy District Attorney with more than 13 years of prosecutorial experience, Mr. Rodriguez has the knowledge, insight, and experience that are required to battle these serious criminal allegations. He knows that a conviction would be devastating and will fight to secure the best possible outcome in your case.
His aggressive approach limits the prosecution’s ability to build a solid case, which often forces them to the negotiating table. Clients often find that their charges are reduced or dismissed when they enlist the help of Mr. Rodriguez and his legal team. Call The Rodriguez Law Group today to schedule a free consultation and to find out more.