Facing a vehicular manslaughter charge is a life-altering event. How you see the world and how other people see you will never be the same. A manslaughter charge that results from a serious motor vehicle crash or similar accident can be doubly traumatic, forcing you to deal with a criminal case while you may also be trying to recover from serious physical injuries and the knowledge that you may have been responsible for the loss of a life and may face civil liability.
When you’re facing a Maryland Vehicular Manslaughter charge, you do not and should not try to face the court system alone. One of the best ways to protect your legal rights and ensure that your rights are protected in court is to retain the services and help of an experienced Bethesda vehicular manslaughter defense attorney. At Alpert Schreyer, our attorneys have years of experience in criminal courts, and we can put our experience to work for you.
Forms of Vehicular Manslaughter
Being accused of vehicular manslaughter is not to be taken lightly. Whether you are facing the lesser or more severe type of manslaughter charge, you will be subject to imprisonment and a fine upon conviction, which is why the first and most important step to take if you have been arrested for vehicular manslaughter is to contact an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer.
There are two types of vehicular manslaughter charges in Maryland, both of which involve one person causing the death of another as the result of his or her driving, controlling, or operating a vessel or vehicle in a negligent manner. These include the following:
- § 2-210 Manslaughter by vehicle or vessel by criminal negligence, which includes circumstances where the driver should be aware, but fails to realize, that his or her actions create an unjustifiable and substantial risk of a fatal accident and that failure is a “gross deviation from the standard of care that would be exercised by a reasonable person.” The penalties for committing vehicular manslaughter under this section include a misdemeanor charge, maximum imprisonment of three years, and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.
- § 2-209 Manslaughter by vehicle or vessel by gross negligence, the penalty for which is a felony charge, maximum imprisonment of 10 years, and/or a maximum $5,000 fine.
Dedicated to Aggressively Defending Your Legal Rights
A vehicular manslaughter arrest can be very overwhelming and intimidating, but it is not necessarily an indication of guilt. The prosecution must prove that your negligence, whether gross or criminal, caused the fatal accident and they will spin evidence to their benefit, even if it is weak or misleading. At Alpert Schreyer, our experienced Bowie criminal lawyers know that there may be a variety of explanations for a motor vehicle accident that may or may not have to do with your actions as a driver. We will investigate the incident and use our skills and resources to build an effective and aggressive defense. To speak to one of our lawyers about your particular case, contact us today at (866) 444-6363 for a free case evaluation.
Maryland’s Vehicular Manslaughter Law
Vehicular manslaughter is one type of “homicide,” or an unlawful killing of another human being. In order to prove that a person has broken Maryland’s vehicular manslaughter law, a prosecutor must demonstrate that each of the following things occurred:
- the person was driving, operating, or controlling a “vehicle” or “vessel;”
- the operation was done in a “grossly negligent” manner or “criminally negligent” manner; and
- the death of another person resulted from the negligent conduct.
Most vehicular manslaughter cases, especially in a busy urban center like Bethesda, involve motor vehicles. However, the word “vehicle” in Maryland’s vehicular manslaughter law also applies to streetcars, locomotives, engines, and trains. “Vessel” typically describes a boat of some kind.
Penalties for Manslaughter by Vehicle or Vessel
Depending upon the circumstances, manslaughter by vehicle and/or vessel can be a felony or misdemeanor charge in Maryland, and the penalties that can be imposed on a convicted person are steep. Punishment can include years in prison and/or thousands of dollars in fines. Probation; community service; restitution; fees and costs; and loss of driving privileges are just some of the additional penalties that may come with a vehicular manslaughter conviction.
Finally, there is the burden of a criminal record, which can affect things like job searches, purchasing or renting a home, volunteering, or other activities for years to come. It may also affect your right to vote in some states and the ability to own a firearm or other weapon.
Defending Your Legal Rights
Every person charged with vehicular manslaughter has certain legal rights. One of the most important legal rights is the right to choose an attorney to represent you throughout the process and to protect your legal rights. At Alpert Schreyer, our dedicated Bethesda vehicular manslaughter defense attorneys have decades of experience in criminal trial law. We’re dedicated to the full protection of every client we represent, ensuring your legal rights are respected while also fighting for the best possible outcome in your case.