Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle

July 17, 2018By Brian Manchester

Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle Is a Life-Changing Offense

If you were involved in a traffic accident that resulted in the death of another driver or pedestrian, you may be charged with Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle. We understand this may be an extremely difficult and emotional time for you, and the legal implications further exacerbate the situation. Brian Manchester can help you through this process by explaining your rights and options, and aggressively defending you throughout the entirety of your case.

How Are You Charged?

Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle is the unintentional killing of another person by breaking a traffic law while engaging in reckless or grossly negligent driving. The charge is a third-degree felony, and the penalty is up to seven years in prison, $15,000 in fines, and a suspension of license for up to three years.

In addition, time may be added to the prison sentence if the accident occurred in a work-zone or while the driver was texting. Thus, Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle is functionally the same as Vehicular Homicide. Remember, more severe is a DUI Homicide by Vehicle conviction, which is a second-degree felony and the penalty is up to ten years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

To be convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle in Pennsylvania, conduct more than mere speeding is required. The most common way the prosecutor establishes someone’s guilt is by proving they were driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs.

However, driving without any lights, driving on the wrong side of the road, racing with another car, or any other example where the driver was committing a serious traffic violation and a death occurred can lead to a conviction for this charge.

In addition to prove you were driving recklessly or in violation of a traffic law, the prosecutor must also prove that your driving is what actually caused the death to the other driver or pedestrian. You cannot be convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving a Vehicle if your traffic violation was not a direct and substantial factor in causing the other party’s death.

Thus, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney like Brian Manchester to raise defenses that create a reasonable doubt about the causation of the death.

Defenses include:
  • Establishing the death occurred at a time in which you were not committing the traffic violation.
  • The victim was partly responsible for the accident, or some other event (like rainy conditions) played a role in why the accident happened.
  • The evidence against you is weak or ill-gotten, and much more.

If the jury has a reasonable doubt about any one of the above three elements, you must be found innocent.

Brian Manchester has been a criminal defense attorney for almost twenty years and can make sure you do not forego these defenses. For a free consultation, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.


Posted in: Vehicular Homicide

Tags: driving, Felony, Involuntary Manslaughter, Third-Degree Felony, Vehicular Homicide,

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About the Author

Brian Manchester is the owner of Manchester and Associates in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. His law firm practices DUI and Criminal Defense exclusively throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania in both state and federal court. He has a team of two other lawyers with a combined 50 years of trial and courtroom experience are also trained in science and many other skills that are relevant to criminal defense to include the psychology of persuasion as well. One of his associates is a former District Attorney (chief prosecutor) in central Pennsylvania.   Mr. Manchester and his team routinely handle serious felony cases including murder, manslaughter, sex crimes, complex financial crimes, and serious assaults. A large part of Mr. Manchester’s practice is the defense of alcohol and drug-based DUI offenses as well as drug cases using science and analytical chemistry. Mr. Manchester has training as a Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Instructor. He is one of a handful of Certified Lawyer-Scientists as recognized by the American Chemical Society in the United States. He is a member of NCDD and is a Founding Member of DUIDLA. He is also a member of the American Chemical Society with over 170,000 members across the world. To date, he is the only practicing criminal defense lawyer to belong to the Society of Forensic Toxicologist where he is an Associate Member. Mr. Manchester speaks nationally on the topic of blood and drug testing for alcohol as well as the metrological (measurement uncertainty) in forensic testing.

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