Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Contact Us for a Free Consultation 510.785.1444

What are the Criteria for Being Charged with DUI Manslaughter in California?

If you are charged with DUI manslaughter in California, there are several things that the prosecutor will look at to determine if you are guilty. Some of these factors include whether or not you were driving recklessly, how much alcohol was in your system, and whether or not the victim died as a result of your actions. In order to prove that you are guilty of DUI manslaughter, the prosecution must show that your actions caused the death of another person. If you have been charged with this crime, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you build a strong defense.

In California, the criteria for being charged with DUI manslaughter are:

  • being convicted of DUI
  • causing the death of another person while driving under the influence
  • having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher

If all of these criteria are met, the driver can be charged with DUI manslaughter, which is a felony.



The law also applies whether the driver was operating a car, boat, motorcycle, or another vehicle at the time of the accident. In addition, the law does not distinguish between drunk and drugged driving; if drugs are found in your system and you cause an accident resulting in death, then you could be charged with DUI manslaughter.

If convicted of DUI manslaughter in California, there are severe penalties that will likely include prison time. For example, if it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that your negligence caused another person's death because you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (or both), then you could receive up to 10 years in state prison as well as fines and fees associated with this conviction.

Gross Negligence (Penal Code 191.5 a)

Penal Code 191.5(a) defines DUI manslaughter in California as the unlawful killing of a person due to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To be convicted of this offense, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was driving under the influence and that this impaired their driving to the point where it caused the death of another person.

It is important to remember that DUI manslaughter charges can be filed even if the driver isn't charged with a traditional DUI offense. In other words, you can be convicted of this crime even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) was not measured. It is also important to note that people who are facing this charge may qualify for certain sentencing alternatives such as California's Three Strikes Law or Prop 36.

When someone is convicted of DUI manslaughter, Penal Code 191.5 (a) is often the charge. This law states that a person can be convicted of gross negligence if they cause the death of another person while driving under the influence. This type of conviction can carry a heavy sentence, and it is important to understand what it means if you are facing these charges.

Gross negligence means that the driver was not merely breaking the law by driving under the influence, but that they drove in a dangerous or reckless way. This includes driving at excessive speeds, running red lights and stop signs, not paying attention to other drivers or pedestrians on the road, or engaging in any other form of unsafe and irresponsible behavior while behind the wheel. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this type of gross negligence caused the death of another person in order to secure a conviction. If convicted, you could face up to 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $10,000 and license suspension for two years.



Ordinary Negligence (Penal Code 191.5 b)

Ordinary negligence is a legal term that is used in criminal law to describe a failure to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would have in the same or similar circumstances. In a DUI manslaughter case, ordinary negligence is often used to describe the actions (or lack thereof) of the defendant that led to the death of the victim. For example, if the defendant was driving while intoxicated and caused a car accident that resulted in the death of another person, they may be charged with DUI manslaughter under Penal Code 191.5 (b).

Penal Code 191.5 (b) in California is the law that makes it a crime to commit vehicular manslaughter while drunk. This law states that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in a reckless manner that leads to the death of another person. If you are convicted of vehicular manslaughter while drunk, you could face imprisonment, fines, and probation. It is important to know that even if the person who died was not in your car, you can still be found guilty of this crime. Penalties for vehicular manslaughter while drunk is severe and may include up to 10 years in prison depending on the situation.

The court will also consider any aggravating factors that contributed to the death. This could include a prior DUI conviction, excessive speed, or driving on a suspended license. The consequences of being convicted of vehicular manslaughter while drunk can have long-lasting repercussions, so it's important to get legal help right away if you're facing these charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney will work diligently to build an effective defense strategy and ensure you receive fair treatment under the law.

If you have been arrested for DUI manslaughter in California, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The penalties for this crime can be severe, and without proper legal representation, you may find yourself facing a lengthy prison sentence. Contact us today to discuss your case and learn more about how we can help.



Do You Need a DUI Lawyer You Can Trust?

With Lynn Gorelick you don't have to face criminal charges alone. You will receive personal attention to your case. Ms. Gorelick will be the one to appear in court with you from beginning to end. Ms. Gorelick, herself, will be doing your DMV hearings. You will not be handed off to another attorney or associate. You deserve this kind of attention to your needs at this stressful time. Ms. Gorelick has represented people charged with DUI for over 38 years.  She has NEVER been a prosecutor who pursues convictions. She has only DEFENDED people accused of crimes. Contact us today for your consultation!


The materials available on this website are for informational and entertainment purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.  You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this site without seeking legal or other professional advice. The information presented on this website may not reflect the most current legal developments.  No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained on this website and we disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this site to the fullest extent permitted by law.



Previous Article -  First 5 Things to Do If You’re Charged with DUI Manslaughter in California


Next Article - DUI Manslaughter in California: Possible Jail Sentences

Serving The Bay Area

We strive to make the highest quality legal representation accessible and affordable.