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  1. #1
    nijiz is offline Junior Member
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    vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence

    What is the name of your state? CA

    Last year I was involved in an accident where I was turning left and a motorcycle crashed into the rear right door of my SUV. The motorcycle had the right of the way because he was going straight. Unfortunately, the cyclist passed away. Now, I am being charged by the Orange County DA Vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence (125 (C) (2) ) and failing to yield to incoming traffic. I had no accident before, and I had no traffic ticket within the last three years. I had been driving the same road for the past two years. I am wondering if I plead guilty, what will the charge me? The other party has already reached a settlement with my insurance company on the civil side.

    thank you for your help
  2. #2
    ecmst12 is online now Senior Member
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    You need a lawyer.
  3. #3
    nijiz is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    You need a lawyer.
    Thank you, but I am out of the country now. I will look for one once I am back, but in the mean time, I am wondering what the penalty is like for a case like this.
  4. #4
    garrula lingua is offline Senior Member
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    The Prosecutor can charge vehicular manslaughter as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

    You are probably charged with a misdemeanor.

    The maximum penalty is one year in county jail (max with 50% credit = six months jail).

    Usually, there is no or minimum jail time in these cases.
    Most sentences include classes and programs, fines, and community service. (DMV can have their own, separate consequences to your driving privilege).

    They are tragic cases - the family of the deceased usually turn out in court ... the defendant usually has the look of a deer caught in headlights - they are heart-rending cases for everyone.

    193. (a) Voluntary manslaughter is punishable by imprisonment in
    the state prison for 3, 6, or 11 years.
    (b) Involuntary manslaughter is punishable by imprisonment in the
    state prison for two, three, or four years.
    (c) Vehicular manslaughter is punishable as follows:
    (1) A violation of paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 192
    is punishable either by imprisonment in the county jail for not more
    than one year or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four,
    or six years.
    (2) A violation of paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) of Section 192
    is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than
    one year.
    (3) A violation of paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 192
    is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 4, 6, or 10
    years.
  5. #5
    SF439 is offline Member
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    You need a lawyer. I wouldn't just plead guilty. At least no contest. But you need a lawyer. Maybe the guy was speeding and that will help your case.
  6. #6
    >Charlotte< is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SF439 View Post
    Maybe the guy was speeding and that will help your case.
    That will not help his case. The motorcyclist's speed does not negate the OP's obligation to ensure it is safe to enter the roadway before he does so.
  7. #7
    nijiz is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you all for replying. Yes, the motorcyclist was speeding, but I'll just plead guilty for this case as I feel really really sorry.

    Another question I have is that I am currently out of the country and I won't be able to make it on time for the court appearance to plead guilty or none guilty. Could I ask someone to represent me as I have given full power of attorney to a friend before I left? Or if I can plead guilty by phone or ask for an extension? thanks for helping me on this. This is my first ever accident, and I do wish i could switch role with him.
  8. #8
    ecmst12 is online now Senior Member
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    Do not plead ANYTHING until you get a lawyer. You can use the phone to find/hire one and he/she can file for a continuence until you are back in the country.

    And actually, in many states, speeding on the part of the favored driver CAN mitigate the liability of the unfavored driver.
  9. #9
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clt747 View Post
    That will not help his case. The motorcyclist's speed does not negate the OP's obligation to ensure it is safe to enter the roadway before he does so.
    That statement is not correct. It does not 'negate' any obligation, but it IS a factor.
  10. #10
    garrula lingua is offline Senior Member
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    In California, vehicular manslaughter is excellently investigated.

    CHP goes 24 hours before the death and traces all actions of each party.
    They canvass for and interview all witnesses prior to the accident and they measure all road markings.
    Accident reconstructors do detailed reports.
    CHP does a fantastic, meticulous, painstakingly complete investigation.
    Complete discovery is given to the defendant's atty.

    OP, this is an offense which can be charged as a misdemeanor OR felony.
    Usually, when initially charging, the Prosecutor will take into consideration any mitigating circumstances, such as no prior record of OP and possible speeding by the deceased.

    If the OP takes the case to trial, it may be tried as a felony - the Prosecutor can increase the charge.

    If the OP gets sued, civilly, for wrongful death the issue of speeding may help.

    OP, the only one who can appear for you is an attorney (who may ask that a warrant be issued and held until you are available if you haven't been booked yet).
    You may qualify for the PD, but you must be present at the arraignment in order for you to fill out the qualification form and have the PD appointed.

    As you aren't going to appear, a bench warrant will be issued.

    You may have problems returning to the US with a warrant out.

    If you ever want to live in the United States, get yourself back for the arraignment.
    A Failure To Appear will likely result later in a felony count (therefore, the FTA is a felony).
  11. #11
    nijiz is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you all for replying. Just an update, I had requested the public defender to ask a continuance for my case because I couldn't be back on time. And when the public defender went on the date i was supposed to appear, she found there is no file of my case at court. She later found out the DA forgot to mark their calendar. So she's working with the DA to reschedule my court time.

    The deceased has already signed and notarized the Release of all Claims form with my insurance company and the case has been settled for the insurance policy limits. If I found guilty on the charge of Vehicular Manslaughter, will I be sued on the civil side again for compensation?
  12. #12
    CJane is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by nijiz View Post

    The deceased has already signed and notarized the Release of all Claims
    Really?
  13. #13
    Some Random Guy is offline Senior Member
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    The deceased has already signed and notarized the Release of all Claims form with my insurance company and the case has been settled for the insurance policy limits. If I found guilty on the charge of Vehicular Manslaughter, will I be sued on the civil side again for compensation?
    Civil and criminal cases are completely independent. If you plead or are found guilty in a criminal case, it can be used as evidence in a civil suit. However, in this case, the family of the deceased has already won its civil suit, so a that party cannot sue you again.

    If anyone else lost something in the accident, such as owners of any other car you hit, can still sue you.

    P.S. My answer assumes you meant that the family of the deceased has signed the Release of all Claims form.
  14. #14
    abaga is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by nijiz View Post
    Thank you all for replying. Just an update, I had requested the public defender to ask a continuance for my case because I couldn't be back on time. And when the public defender went on the date i was supposed to appear, she found there is no file of my case at court. She later found out the DA forgot to mark their calendar. So she's working with the DA to reschedule my court time.

    The deceased has already signed and notarized the Release of all Claims form with my insurance company and the case has been settled for the insurance policy limits. If I found guilty on the charge of Vehicular Manslaughter, will I be sued on the civil side again for compensation?


    REALLY??? WOW!
  15. #15
    ErinGoBragh is offline Senior Member
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    Why are you necroposting? This thread has been dead for almost 3 months. If you have a legal question, please start your own thread in the appropriate forum.

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