Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter is a crime that is committed by a driver who unintentionally causes an accident that results in the death of someone else. It can include the death of a passenger, driver, or pedestrian who was accidentally killed by the actions of a reckless driver. A person other than the driver of the car can be charged with vehicular manslaughter, as well. If you are charged with this crime, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately to learn your legal options and defenses. You can be charged with vehicular manslaughter for the following reasons:

  • Driving under the influence or alcohol or drugs: Causing a fatal accident while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can lead to a vehicular manslaughter charge. Intoxication can be proven through chemical evidence (blood, breath or urine tests) and other incriminating facts.

  • Being a careless or negligent driver: Negligent driving may include texting or talking on a cell phone while driving. If a driver takes his or her eyes of the highway while reaching to turn on the radio or rolling up a car window and causes a fatal accident, he or she may be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

  • Violating a safety statute: You can be charged with vehicular manslaughter when you violate a safety stature. If you perform an illegal U-turn or pass another vehicle while driving through a no passing zone and accidentally kill someone, you may be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you can be charged with motor vehicle homicide or manslaughter by motor vehicle. The charges for motor vehicle homicide can be a misdemeanor or felony. It depends on many factors, such as if the driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol. For any motor vehicle homicide conviction in the Commonwealth, you could lose your license for up to 15 years. If you had a prior OUI conviction, your license could be suspended for life. The punishment for motor vehicle homicide is outlined in MGL Chapter 90, Section 24G.

You can face a stiffer punishment if you are charged with manslaughter by motor vehicle, which is manslaughter while operating a motor vehicle in Massachusetts. According to Massachusetts Law Chapter 265-131/2, if you are convicted, penalties may include:

  • A mandatory minimum of five years in jail

  • A maximum of five to 20 years in prison

  • Fines up to $25,000

  • 15-year loss of driver's license

If you have been accused or charged with motor vehicle homicide or manslaughter by motor vehicle, you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney. The consequences can be devastating and may include prison time, license suspension, and fines. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.