Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular Manslaughter

Criminal Defense Attorneys Serving Cedar City and St. George, Utah

Vehicular manslaughter is the crime of negligently causing the death of another person using a motor vehicle. Utah prosecutors take the crime of vehicular manslaughter seriously, and a conviction often results in prison time, hefty fines, and loss of your driver’s license.

Vehicular manslaughter charges typically arise in one of two ways:

  • A person is charged with murder and receives an offense reduction as part of a plea negotiation; or
  • Someone negligently causes the death of another person while recklessly driving a motor vehicle.

If you were charged with vehicular manslaughter, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Experienced legal representation can mean the difference between a conviction and a Not Guilty verdict. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can result in less severe penalties, a reduction in charges, or dismissal of the case against you.

What Is Vehicular Manslaughter in Utah

Homicide is the crime of taking another person’s life. Vehicular homicide occurs when one person takes another person’s life by striking them with a vehicle. Vehicular homicide often involves accidents caused by distracted driving, drunk driving, or reckless driving. If you were charged with vehicular homicide, you might also be facing other criminal charges.

To convict a person of vehicular homicide, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant operated a vehicle in “a negligent manner” or “a criminally negligent manner.”

  • Negligence is the failure to exercise a degree of care that a reasonable and prudent person would exercise in similar circumstances.
  • Criminal negligence is more serious and means that a person should have known that their actions would create an unjustifiable risk of harm to someone else’s safety.

In addition to proving negligence or criminal negligence, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant was:

  • Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .05% or higher;
  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol to an extent that impaired their ability to operate a motor vehicle; or
  • Operated a vehicle in a criminally negligent manner and had any measurable amount of a controlled substance in their body.

Each death that results from a person’s violation of Utah’s vehicular homicide statute is a separate offense, even if multiple deaths arise from the same driving episode.

Is Vehicular Manslaughter A Felony?

Vehicular manslaughter is a third-degree felony. If a defendant is found to have acted with criminal negligence, vehicular manslaughter is a second-degree felony.

If you are convicted of third-degree vehicular manslaughter, you face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

A second-degree vehicular manslaughter sentence can include 15 years in prison, $10,000 in fines, and revocation of your driver’s license.

Defending Against Charges of Vehicular Manslaughter in Utah

Successfully defending against charges of vehicular manslaughter requires a technical and aggressive defense strategy. At Douglas D. Terry & Associates, our lawyers will carefully investigate the case against you to identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.

Not Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

The tests used to determine a driver’s BAC are notoriously inaccurate. Challenging the accuracy of the test can lead to reduced charges, a reduced sentence, or dismissal of the case.

We might also be able to identify alternative causes of the symptoms that led police officers to believe you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Fatigue, illness, or a medical condition could have made you appear to be under the influence.

No Negligence

To convict a person of vehicular manslaughter, the prosecutor must prove you acted negligently. If our lawyers can negate the element of negligence, we can work to negotiate the dismissal of your case or a significant reduction in charges.

Alternative Causes of Death

There can be multiple causes of death in an automobile accident. To secure a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that your actions caused the other person’s death. Our defense strategy will explore alternative explanations for the victim’s death, such as hazardous road conditions, or improperly functioning safety features on the victim’s vehicle or other vehicles involved.

Contact Douglas D. Terry & Associates for Aggressive Criminal Defense

Defending against charges of vehicular manslaughter requires a tenacious and aggressive defense lawyer. The criminal defense lawyers at Douglas D. Terry & Associates have extensive experience defending people against vehicular manslaughter charges. We will conduct an independent investigation and mount an aggressive defense designed to result in a reduction of the criminal charges or outright dismissal of the case.

With offices in St. George and Cedar City, Utah, Douglas D. Terry & Associates proudly defends people accused of crimes throughout southern Utah.

To learn more, contact us today by calling (435) 628-4411, emailing, or completing our online form.