More and more I’m seeing vehicular manslaughter cases filed in the Van Nuys courthouse based on accidents that are occurring in the San Fernando Valley. Van Nuys pretty much controls the jurisdiction as far as a vehicular manslaughter case if the case occurs in one of the cities within the San Fernando Valley. When they file a case as a criminal case as it relates to driving on the road, it’s typically going to be filed as a vehicular manslaughter which is a felony. You could be facing up to six years in prison. This usually occurs when a death occurs on the road, and what the prosecutors are going to need to prove in the Van Nuys court is gross behavior by the driver – gross negligence – basically, where somebody is just driving so recklessly that it can’t be considered just a simple accident, because accident cases in the San Fernando Valley are not crimes. If you get in an accident if somebody dies, typically that’s not going to be charged as a crime. But, if on the other hand, you’re racing another vehicle and get in an accident and kill somebody, that’s going to likely be charged as a vehicular manslaughter.
As a felony, you’ll be facing six years in prison. It also could be charged as a second-degree if, during the racing, they can determine that you were drunk on alcohol or some other drug that affected your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. So, the Van Nuys court takes these vehicular manslaughter cases very seriously. When the prosecutors decide what they’re going to file in these Van Nuys vehicular manslaughter cases, they’re looking at how bad was the conduct? What was the reason the death occurred? Are there any other factors that contributed to the death? Did the person that died contribute to their own death? Were there other vehicles on the road that were involved? Was there some sort of defect in the road that contributed to the death? These are all considerations the Van Nuys prosecutor will take into account when assessing one of these vehicular manslaughter cases.
Basically, they have four choices in general when it comes to a vehicular manslaughter case where someone’s driving recklessly and another person dies. One, they could just consider it an accident and file nothing criminally and then the parties can deal with it civilly if they think there was some negligence on the part of one of the drivers or more of the drivers. Two, they can file the case as an involuntary vehicular manslaughter case which is basically a misdemeanor and that had to do with just simple negligence – some sort of a road violation – speeding, making an illegal left turn – and a death results. Again, that’s a misdemeanor. You’d be facing up to a year in the county jail. It’s much less serious than a vehicular manslaughter case in the Van Nuys court. The third option they have is to file a case as a felony vehicular manslaughter case. In that circumstance as indicated above, they’re going to have to prove gross negligence on the part of the driver. So, usually when I see these cases filed – someone driving really fast, running red lights, driving in a reckless manner, weaving in and out of traffic, racing – these are the type of cases that are going to trigger a vehicular manslaughter filing and the person potentially looking at six years in state prison.
The final choice the prosecutors have is to file the case as a second-degree murder case, and I’ve seen this more and more as people become aware of the dangers of drinking and driving and causing deaths, racing, going over 100 miles an hour – all sorts of different things that people are doing on the road. But if a death results, the prosecutors, the police and judges are going to be looking to blame somebody for that death. So, you want to be real careful out there and if you have one of these cases where your charged with vehicular manslaughter or second-degree murder or both, they’re going to need to get an attorney that knows the Van Nuys court, who knows the filing deputies and the head prosecutors there because in my experience, there’s typically some mitigating circumstances in these vehicular manslaughter cases in Van Nuys that the prosecutors have not considered and it’s up to the defense attorney to put those in front of them. It’s up to the defense attorneys to show the prosecutors the mitigating circumstances that make the case either not rise to the level of a vehicular manslaughter case, or if it is a good vehicular manslaughter filing, the person shouldn’t go to prison. Try to get a probationary sentence.
So, there are all sorts of different things that can happen and when there’s a whole range of charges that could be filed and sentences that can be imposed, that’s when the best criminal defense attorneys in the Van Nuys courthouse are necessary in order to achieve a result that you could live with. A result that protects your record, your freedom, your career and your family.
So, if you have one of these vehicular manslaughter cases in the Van Nuys court, give me a call. We’ll sit down. We’ll go over everything. We’ll talk about it and when you leave the office, you’ll leave with a strategy in place. One that takes into account your life, your version of events and really gets down to the nitty-gritty of defending you and helping you with your vehicular manslaughter case.
For more information on Vehicular Manslaughter Cases In Van Nuys, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0940 today.