California Penal Code 191.5 and What it Could Mean to You
It is bad enough to be accused of drunk driving—it’s a whole lot worse when a deadly accident occurs. In the state of California, if you are believed to be the cause of a fatal wreck while intoxicated, you could be found in violation of California Penal Code 191.5.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) defines vehicular manslaughter as “the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle.”
Under state law, there are different types of vehicular manslaughter charges—“vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated” and “gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.” Violating either of these laws can lead to a lengthy jail term.
Understanding the Law
There are various laws that apply to gross vehicular manslaughter, including:
California Penal Code 191.5 — Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
According to California Penal Code 191.5 gross vehicular manslaughter involves gross negligence. Basically, it means that the driver was extremely careless and that attitude led to the deadly accident.
California Penal Code 191.5(b) — Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
California Penal Code 191.5(b) has a very similar definition to 191.5(a) in that the drunk driver was the cause of the fatal crash. However, it doesn’t have that element of gross negligence.
The Punishment for Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
Conviction of either of these laws could land you behind bars. However, violating California Penal Code 191.5(a) does have a stiffer penalty. If you are found guilty, you could be looking at up to 10 years in state prison. On the other hand, if you are found guilty of California Penal Code 191.5(b), you could be looking at a maximum of four years in county jail.
Should You Hire Your Own Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you are wondering whether or not you need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the answer is YES.
A knowledgeable attorney, such as Robert Ernenwein, will be able to create a strong defense on your behalf. You may be able to have your charges dropped or, at the very least, lessened.