Vehicular manslaughter charges are levied when a driver’s reckless, negligent, or intoxicated driving unintentionally causes the death of another individual. Vehicular manslaughter may also be referred to as “intoxication manslaughter,” “reckless homicide,” or a “felony DUI causing death,” depending on the state. However, all terms are applicable when instances of negligent driving result in the death of a passenger, pedestrian, or passengers of other cars. Vehicular manslaughter can be penalized to varying degrees. For example, a case in which the negligent driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol would receive a more severe punishment than a negligent driver apprehended under traffic violations, unrelated to intoxication. As a felony, these charges can result in 1 to 25 years of imprisonment or a $10,100 to $25,100 fine in South Carolina.
An arrest for vehicular manslaughter can be life-altering. Loss of life due to negligence is one of the most heavily prosecuted crimes, whether the crime happened intentionally or not. Crimes of this gravity warrant the qualified counsel of a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Fortunately, the vehicular manslaughter lawyers at Truslow & Truslow have an explicit understanding of South Carolina’s code of laws and have addressed criminal offenses for years.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help?
We understand that a vehicular manslaughter charge can be terrifying, and you may not know where to turn for help. We have experience helping people just like you defend themselves against serious criminal charges, and we’re ready to do the same for you.
At Truslow & Truslow, our extensive understanding of South Carolina’s code of laws is the key weapon we have when formulating your defense. Vehicular manslaughter is often prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law; therefore, it is imperative to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to ensure that you have an advocate on your side.
Contact a Vehicular Manslaughter Attorney
Because of the seriousness of such charges, it is not uncommon for vehicular manslaughter to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. For this reason, the urgency of obtaining an effective criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible is not to be understated.
At Truslow & Truslow, our legal team may be able to help by assessing your case and using knowledgeable counsel to advocate on your behalf. If you are facing vehicular manslaughter charges, contact our Columbia, SC office at (803) 590-6688 to discuss the details of your case.
Types of Negligence Applicable to Vehicular Manslaughter
Accidental death resulting from traffic accidents is defined as vehicular manslaughter, a provision of general manslaughter that usually carries lesser penalties. Vehicular manslaughter charges typically arise out of negligent behavior, some of which include:
- Ordinary negligence or inattention – This category includes behaviors such as taking your eyes off the road or driving distractedly.
- Criminal negligence – To be criminally negligent, you must display more egregious driving behavior, such as speeding while recklessly changing lanes, or—in some cases—texting while driving.
- Driving while intoxicated – This display of negligence may be the easiest to prove and prosecute, aided by eyewitness testimony and chemical tests. Many times, any presence of alcohol or drugs in the defendant’s system is enough to indicate reckless endangerment to the jury.
- Violation of safety standards – This type of negligence may include passing an unloading school bus, making an illegal U-turn, or otherwise violating traffic statutes in a manner resulting in a wrongful death.
- Falling asleep at the wheel – This degree of negligence is applicable to vehicular manslaughter on a case-by-case basis and a prosecutor must prove that you willingly acted negligently in falling asleep while driving. For example, a man who stays awake for two days straight and then chooses to drive a vehicle would have exercised willful negligence in his case.
Vehicular manslaughter can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case.
What if I Was Accused of Being Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol?
In South Carolina, vehicular manslaughter can result in heavy fines and potential jail time if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. A felony conviction can result in 1 to 25 years of imprisonment or a $10,100 to $25,100 fine in South Carolina. If you have been accused of a serious crime like vehicular manslaughter, do not despair. A charge does not automatically mean a conviction, and you have the right to defend yourself against any accusations against you. Our attorneys have over 48 years of experience negotiating on behalf of those facing vehicular manslaughter charges. Call us today for a completely confidential consultation to discuss the specifics of your case and start formulating a strong defense on your behalf.
What Are Strong Defense Strategies?
A vehicular manslaughter charge warrants relentless and aggressive representation. Our attorneys have over 48 years of experience representing clients in similar situations. Therefore, we have gained a comprehensive understanding of the best defense strategies against different types of criminal defense charges, including vehicular manslaughter. Common defense strategies for vehicular manslaughter include the following:
- Illegally obtained evidence- The defense attorney may argue that a blood alcohol content (BAC) test was illegally obtained or was obtained in violation of the defendant’s rights even if the test showed a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
- Not drug or alcohol-related- The defendant can claim and prove that the accident was not caused due to their reckless driving but due to an intervening outside event. This defense is not available in all states.
- Pre-existing condition- The defendant can also claim that the recklessness was not caused by drugs or alcohol but caused by a pre-existing medical condition or medical emergency.