What is vehicular manslaughter?

If you face vehicular manslaughter charges in Missouri, this is a very serious charge for which you could serve a substantial prison sentence if convicted. As FindLaw explains, vehicular manslaughter is one of several Missouri involuntary manslaughter crimes, all of which are first-degree felonies

For you to receive a vehicular manslaughter conviction, the prosecutor must prove all three of the following:

  1. That you drove a vehicle while texting, intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
  2. That you accidentally killed someone as a result of your actions
  3. That your actions constituted criminal negligence, i.e., that they amounted to carelessness or a reckless disregard of your victim’s life

Felony penalties

As stated, vehicular manslaughter is a first-degree felony, but Missouri has three classifications ranging from Class A, the most serious, to Class C, the least serious. If your prosecution results in a Class C felony conviction, you can serve up to seven years in prison and face a $5,000 maximum fine. Your prison term for a Class B felony conviction increases to 5-15 years.

The judge or jury can only convict you of a Class A felony under one of the following circumstances:

  • You killed more than one person.
  • You killed someone other than a passenger in your vehicle.
  • Your blood alcohol content was 0.18 percent or higher.

A Class A conviction results in a prison term of from 10-30 years, of which you must serve at least 85 percent before becoming eligible for parole.

While this information is not legal advice, it can help you understand vehicular manslaughter and what to expect if convicted.

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