Vehicles can be dangerous weapons when they are in the hands of individuals who are driving drunk, distracted or under the influence of a controlled substance. The National Safety Council notes that pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to injury or death when struck by a vehicle. Those who face legal charges for the death of another while driving may either be charged with vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide, and there are several significant differences between both.
An individual may be charged with vehicular homicide if he or she was driving recklessly or at high speeds and caused a crash that killed someone in either car, including unborn children. This is a second-degree felony charge; however, it may be elevated to a first-degree charge if the driver who caused the crash leaves the scene of the accident and fails to render aid to those injured. Individuals who are convicted of this crime may face up to 15 years in jail, as well as several thousands of dollars in fines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that car accidents are the first and second-most common of injuries during each day of the week and that around 90 people die daily as a result of those wrecks. Some of these crashes are caused by drunk drivers, and those who are charged will likely face vehicular manslaughter. Unlike vehicular homicide, if convicted, a guilty individual will face four years of prison time in addition to any other time the judge hands down, as well as mandatory alcohol treatment and the possible permanent loss of driving privileges.
Vehicular homicide and manslaughter crashes take place most often on weekends. However, these deadly incidents can happen at any time.