If you are under investigation, or have been arrested for Vehicular Manslaughter, you should contact a lawyer immediately. In San Francisco, and throughout the Bay Area, there are numerous traffic accidents, which can sometimes result in death. In some cases, there are pedestrian fatalities. The question of who, or what, caused the accident can be very complex in serious injury accident cases. In most every traffic accident resulting in death, the police will take a blood or a breath sample from the drivers involved.
In most cases, specialized police or California Highway Patrol traffic accident investigators will be called to the scene to take measurements, take video footage, and sketch the scene, as well as prepare detailed accident or traffic collision reports. The vehicles will be photographed and examined. All witnesses and parties involved will be interviewed. These interviews will often be tape recorded and can be video recorded with an officer’s body camera.
These accidents can lead to criminal charges for Penal Code section 192 (c)(1) violations. Penal code 192, subsection (c)(1), is known as Vehicular Manslaughter, without drugs or alcohol involved, but with gross negligence, and can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
A person could also be charged with Vehicular Manslaughter with drugs or alcohol and with gross negligence, Penal Code 191.5(a). Penal Code 191.5(a) is a straight felony, not a wobbler offense that can be charged as misdemeanor. Another possible charge is Penal Code section 191.5(b), vehicular manslaughter with drugs or alcohol, but without gross negligence. Penal Code 191.5(b) is a wobbler offense, meaning it could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Felony vehicular manslaughter charges carry a potential state prison sentence. Misdemeanor charges carry a potential county jail sentence. Some of these charges can be probation eligible.
To adequately defend a vehicular manslaughter case, your lawyer will need to work with a licensed private investigator to interview any witnesses. Evidence will need to be collected. This may include data from the air bag in your vehicle and any other vehicles involved. All vehicles involved in the accident may need to be examined by an accident reconstruction expert or licensed private investigator. There are experts who assist with accident evaluation and investigations who are former police officers and also persons with degrees in mechanical engineering. Your case could involve biomechanics of injury, human factors issues, and accident reconstruction issues. It may be necessary to hire a medical doctor or registered nurse to evaluate medical records from the accident. If any of the parties involved were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or are alleged to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then you may need to hire a forensic toxicologist to evaluate the blood or breath testing data.
The defense of these cases may involve complicated criminal restitution issues, and can be complicated by parallel civil lawsuits, that are filed against the defendant. In most cases, clients have insurance, and their insurance company will assist them in defending against wrongful death lawsuits or major injury lawsuits. In some cases, the client may need to hire their own separate personal injury defense counsel, even if they were insured, due to significant liability issues in wrongful death matters.
Mr. Sullivan has handled numerous cases involving serious injury motor vehicle accidents over the last decade. He has experience working with experts in accident reconstruction and forensic toxicologists. He is a former deputy public defender, and also worked in a criminal defense firm in San Francisco prior to opening his own office. Since opening his own office, he has continued to regularly handle criminal cases arising out of motor vehicle accidents.
Contact our office today for a consultation regarding your criminal law matter. You can also fill out the confidential online form to schedule an appointment.