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Vehicular Manslaughter

The death of a person other than the driver as a result of either criminally negligent or murderous operation of a motor vehicle.
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Under Arizona law Vehicular Manslaughter cases are extremely serious.  A person commits Vehicular Manslaughter by killing a human being by either recklessly causing their death, or intentionally or knowingly committing murder in the heat of passion or upon a sudden quarrel and resulting from adequate provocation by the victim.


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To prove that the cause of death was reckless, the prosecutor must prove that the accused was aware of, and consciously disregarded, a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstances existed.  The risks must be of such a nature and degree that disregard of those risks constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.  When a person is charged with Vehicular Manslaughter, it is normally due to an allegation that the accused was speeding far above the posted speed limited and/or they were driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI).


Possible Punishments for Vehicular Manslaughter


If the offense occurred and no deadly weapon or dangerous weapon is involved (Class 2 non-dangerous Felony):


  • First offense: Probation with up to 1 year in jail.  If prison is ordered by the judge then between 3-12.5 years;
  • 1 Historical Prior Felony Conviction: Between 4.5-23.25 years in prison;
  • 2 Historical Prior Felony Convictions: Between 10.5-35 years in prison.


If the jury determines that a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon (i.e. car) was involved (Class 2 dangerous Felony):

  • First offense: Between 7-21 years in prison;
  • 1 Historical Prior Felony Conviction: Between 14-28 years in prison;
  • 2 Historical Prior Felony Convictions: Between 21-35 years in prison.


It is imperative that you hire an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney who not only has a proven track record of success in Manslaughter cases, but Vehicular Manslaughter cases specifically.  At Oliverson & Huss Law we have extensive experience from our time as former felony prosecutors, a former police officer, and a former judge.  If you have been charged with Vehicular Manslaughter you need to hire legal counsel immediately.

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