Texting & Driving in Los Angeles? If Someone Dies, You Could Be Facing Jail Time
Distracted driving is a hot topic these days. Both the federal and state governments have gone to great measures to ensure the public is aware of the dangers it imposes. In 2009, a law took effect in California (Wireless Communications Device Law) that made it illegal to “write, send, or read text-based communication on an electronic wireless communications device, such as a cell phone, while driving a motor vehicle.” If you are caught breaking this rule, you may be looking at a traffic citation. However, if you are texting and driving and cause a deadly crash, the punishment could be far worse.
If you have been accused of vehicular manslaughter following a texting and driving accident, understand that the prosecution will be looking to make an example of you.
Understanding California Penal Code 192(c)
Vehicular manslaughter can be defined generally as a criminal offense involving the death of another person caused by illegal driving, negligence, reckless driving, or intoxication. In California, there are different laws that apply depending on whether you were drunk at the time. If you were not intoxicated, your case may fall under Penal Code 192(c), which is vehicular manslaughter, not involving drugs or alcohol. Individuals can be punished under this law if they are found to have driven in an unlawful way, participated in dangerous driving behavior, or purposely caused a crash for financial gain.
This crime is very serious and can be tried as a misdemeanor or felony. If the case is charged as a felony, you could be looking at years in prison.
Getting Legal Help
Just because you have been charged with California vehicular manslaughter, doesn’t mean you are automatically guilty. Robert Ernenwein, a Torrance criminal defense lawyer, will review your case and build a strong defense on your behalf. He may be able to show that you were not driving negligently at the time of the crash, or he may be able to prove that there was some other cause. Depending on the situation, there is a chance that he can get your charge lessened to a misdemeanor instead of a felony.