Vehicular manslaughter charges are extremely serious and are typically brought when an individual is killed in a car accident because of the unintentional act of another driver. It is important to focus on the ‘unintentional’ aspect of these types of charges, as this is something that will directly affect what kind of punishment the responsible person will receive. It should also be noted that vehicular manslaughter charges are often associated with accidents that take place when a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving carelessly for some other reason. In the state of Oklahoma, vehicular manslaughter is one of the most serious traffic-related charges, in large part because it involves the death of another person.
Atkins & Markoff’s criminal defense attorneys understand the challenges that come along with vehicular manslaughter charges, for both the plaintiff and the defendant. Whether you have been accused of causing the death of another person or persons by recklessly driving, or if you have lost a loved one in a car accident where another driver acted negligently, please contact our Oklahoma law firm today. Our vehicular manslaughter lawyers have the resources necessary to represent you in a court of law and will do everything in our power to ensure justice is served.
What is Vehicular Manslaughter?
In a nutshell, vehicular manslaughter occurs when another human being is killed by someone operating a motor vehicle in a reckless or careless manner. In order to convict someone of vehicular manslaughter, you must be able to prove that the driver acted in a reckless or dangerous manner. Please keep in mind that simply being involved in a serious traffic accident that results in the death of another driver, passenger, pedestrian, or cyclist does not mean that anyone acted recklessly. Vehicular manslaughter only applies when someone acts in a way that endangered the lives of other people on the road. One of the most important aspects of any vehicular manslaughter case is whether or not it can be proven that the driver is guilty of negligence.
What Types of Acts Fall Under This Category?
In order to better understand what vehicular manslaughter is in Oklahoma, it is important you know what kind of driving will result in this charge. Here is a look at a few of the most common driving acts that fall under vehicular manslaughter:
- Negligent Driving
Many people do not realize this, but simply driving negligently or carelessly can result in a vehicular manslaughter charge. Examples of negligence when driving include inattention, reckless disregard of others’ safety, speeding, failing to heed flashing red lights, traveling on the wrong side of the road, and dangerously tailgating another driver.
- Driving While Under the Influence
One of the most common ways to prove vehicular manslaughter is by showing that the driver was intoxicated or under the influence or drugs or alcohol when the accident occurred. This may happen through reckless behavior, eyewitness testimony, self-incriminating statements, and chemical evidence.
- Driving While Falling Asleep
Unfortunately, many car accidents take place when a driver falls asleep behind the wheel, or is extremely drowsy. When another driver or pedestrian dies as a result, the driver won’t necessarily be charged with vehicular manslaughter. However, if the driver acted negligently or recklessly (such as choosing to stay up all night or driving home after being awake for more than 36 hours) then it may be a case of vehicular manslaughter.
To learn more about Oklahoma’s laws in regards to vehicular manslaughter or to speak with one of our attorneys about your case in particular, please contact Atkins & Markoff today.