After a night at the bar with your friend, your friend realizes he is too intoxicated to drive you home. Your driver’s license has been revoked, but you think “what’s the harm?” and decide to drive his car home.
On the way, you swerve off the road and hit a guardrail. Your friend dies as a result from his injuries. What happens next for you? Here is a look at the potential charges you could face for driving with a revoked license or while your license is suspended and causing a fatal accident.
Driving With a Suspended or Revoked License (California Vehicle Code Section 14601)
There are various reasons why your license could be suspended or revoked by the DMV, including:
- DUI arrest or conviction
- Outstanding warrant
- Too many “points” on license due to traffic violations
- Medical issues
- No car insurance
- Failure to pay child support
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Failure to file a report with the DMV after an accident
- Failure to pay a civil judgment related to an automobile accident
Under California Vehicle Code 14601, driving on a suspended or revoked license is a misdemeanor offense. If you are convicted of driving on a suspended or revoked license, you could face up to six months in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines. If it is your second conviction within five years, you could face up to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,000.
Vehicular Manslaughter (California Penal Code Section 192(c))
In a case like this one, the most serious charge that the driver might face is vehicular manslaughter. Under California Penal Code section 192(c)(2), vehicular manslaughter is defined as driving a vehicle with ordinary negligence that results in the unlawful killing of a human being. The prosecution must prove the following:
- While driving a vehicle, the driver committed a misdemeanor, infraction or otherwise lawful act in an unlawful manner;
- The act was dangerous to human life under the circumstances of its commission;
- The driver committed the act with gross or ordinary negligence; AND
- The misdemeanor, infraction or otherwise lawful act caused the death of another person.
Vehicular Manslaughter in California is also a “wobbler” offense. It can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of your case and your criminal history.
A misdemeanor conviction of vehicular manslaughter is punishable by imprisonment in county jail for up to one year. A felony conviction for violating PC 192(c) could result in a prison sentence of between two and 10 years.
What Will Happen in Your Case?
Your actions can be considered dangerous to human life because you knew your license was revoked but you drove anyways. This means your act of driving could be considered an unlawful act done in a manner that was grossly negligent, meaning it was done in a manner that created a high risk of death or bodily injury, and a reasonable person would have known that acting in that way created such a risk.
Because your actions resulted in the death of your friend, a charge of vehicular manslaughter could be filed in this case.
Contact the Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich to Learn More
If you or a loved one is facing charges of driving on a revoked or suspended license and/or vehicular manslaughter, your best option is to work with an experienced and aggressive attorney. Wallin & Klarich has been successfully defending people accused of vehicular crimes for over 30 years. Contact us today for a free, no obligation phone consultation and let us help you now.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is a Wallin & Klarich attorney experienced in California’s vehicle laws near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.