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What’s the punishment for vehicular manslaughter?

I had a friend confide in me that he hit a homeless man with his car the other night while driving home. He did not stop because he had an open bottle of alcohol in the car. After 3 weeks in the hospital, the man died from his wounds. My friend saw the picture of the homeless man in the paper. We live in California. My friend is currently 17 and he is starting to freak out over whats going to happen to him when he turns himself in. What possible charges are involved here and what kind of time could he face in total?


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    Peter Goldscheider | Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    438 Cambridge Ave. Suite 250
    Palo Alto, CA 94306
    (650) 323-8296
    Felony hit and run with a death occurring is a very serious offense and can carry up to 7 years in prison not including any punishment that could arise from a vehicular manslaughter conviction if he also caused the accident.
    Answer Applies to: California - Replied: 4/16/2013
    Francis John Cowhig | Universal Law Group, Inc.
    430 S. Garfield Avenue
    Alhambra, CA 91801
    (626) 308-9936
    He is looking at vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run with a minimum potential jail sentence of 1 to 10 years.
    Answer Applies to: California - Replied: 4/15/2013
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    39300 Civic Center Drive #110
    Fremont, CA 94538
    (510) 792-5110
    He could be facing up to 10 years in the department of juvenile justice, which used to be called the Youth Authority. Although he could be paroled after about 2 years. If the DA charges the case and asks for it to be sent to adult court he could be facing up to 10 years in prison. He needs a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California - Replied: 4/15/2013
    Joseph A. Katz | Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    40485 Murrieta Hot Springs Rd
    Murrieta, CA 92563
    (951) 695-1945
    Your friend could be in very serious trouble. Killing someone with a vehicle is one thing. See California Penal Code sections 191.5(b) and 192(c). 'Gross Vehicular Manslaughter', Penal Code section 191.5(a), is punishable by four, six or ten years in prison. Vehicular Manslaughter without gross negligence is punishable by sixteen months, two years or four years in prison, or by only up to one year in jail, as a term and condition of a grant of probation. Killing someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is very serious. You said that he had an open container in the car. Fleeing the scene after killing someone is even more serious, and adds five consecutive years to a prison sentence, pursuant to Penal Code section 192.5(e). A person who commits a violation of Penal Code section 191.5(a) who has a prior conviction for Driving Under the Influence is punishable by fifteen years to life, for what is called a 'Watson Murder', a type of Second Degree Murder. The theory is that in such circumstances you would then have had specific knowledge of the dangerous nature of your actions due to the prior conviction, which the prosecution would use to try to establish the 'malice aforethought' element of the murder charge. This probably does not apply to your friend, who is only seventeen years old. Your friend would probably be prosecuted as a minor, but could face the same charges. It is possible he could serve a sentence in the California Youth Authority until he is twenty-five years old. Hopefully, your friend was not under the influence of alcohol at the time. He should most definitely hire an experienced, local criminal defense Attorney prior to speaking with the police. He should obtain a consultation right away.
    Answer Applies to: California - Replied: 4/15/2013
    Terry Nelson | Nelson & Lawless
    2134 Main St., #130
    Huntington Beach, CA 92648
    (714) 960-7584
    Depends upon what all the various felony charges are when brought by the DA. More than one. To Him: A little free advice: exercise the 5th Amendment right to SHUT UP and do NOT talk to police or anyone about the case except with and through an attorney. When charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or statement be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? While this isn't a 'capital case', it certainly carries substantial potential time, so handle it right. No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or elsewhere are going to effectively help in a legal defense. If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney who does, who will try to get a charge reduction, diversion, programs, or other decent outcome through motions, plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. He had better get counsel immediately, before the police track him down and arrest him. Turning in voluntarily to the DA will be far less traumatic. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California - Replied: 4/15/2013
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