We often find the question regarding ‘Vehicular Manslaughter vs Vehicular Homicide‘. They are completely different type of crime and the penalties are different as well. But, many people get confused thinking of them as the same. So if you are of them wondering about the difference between vehicular manslaughter and vehicular homicide, this blog is for you.
In the following section, we will talk in detail about vehicular homicide vs manslaughter, along with their penalties and how to deal with such kinds of situations.
Keep reading till the end.
Vehicular Manslaughter vs Vehicular Homicide: Are They Different?
In general, both the terms vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter usually refer to the same offence, with different names being used. In some other states, they are deemed as two different acts. Whereas vehicular homicide is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, vehicular manslaughter in Canada is considered a second-degree misdemeanor.
Depending on the act, the driver can be ideally charged with vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter. And the debate will continue.
That’s why to put an end to all the queries, we have discussed about both the terms in the below section, each separately.
What is Meant by Vehicular Homicide?
The term “vehicular homicide”, refers to an accident that results in the death of a pedestrian or bystander. The driver’s carelessness or negligence is what caused these collisions.
Automobile homicide and vehicular manslaughter are other popular names for vehicular homicide. They are categorized as a first-degree misdemeanors with up to 6 months imprisonment, CAD 1000 fines, license suspension, and many more.
Let’s consider an example:
Jack is returning home one evening from a long day at work. Since he needs to go home quickly, he chooses not to stop or slow down in the traffic. Sadly, a pedestrian was crossing the same street when the walk signal got activated.
While Jack, on the other hand, was unable to stop in time to avoid hitting the pedestrian. This, in return, caused a great mishap resulting in the tragic death of an innocent person.
What are the sentences for vehicular homicide in Canada?
The sentences for vehicular homicide is indeed quite harsh and serious. That is, if the accused is found guilty, they could ideally receive a fine, spend several years behind bars, or even a life sentence, in the worst-case scenario.
Here is a list of the typical sentences for vehicular homicide. Depending on the circumstances, the punishments can vary from one case to another.
- First offence: Minimum fine of CAD 1000
- Second offence: Minimum jail sentence of 30 days
- The minimum sentence for a further offence is 120 days in jail.
- Licence suspension for up to 1-5 years
N.B: The penalties mentioned above can change if the accused has a compelling argument. The prosecution must accept it as sufficient evidence before dismissing all the charges. Although unusual, it is not impossible to happen.
But, if the defendant repeatedly violates the law, there is almost no chance that the case will succeed. They might as well find them guilty of the charges and thus sentence them to several years or their whole life behind bars. That’s why we strictly recommend you have a word of advice with an experienced lawyer before going ahead with the case.
What is Meant by Vehicular Manslaughter?
When a driver accidentally kills someone else while violating a minor traffic law, for instance, speeding or running a red light, it is considered vehicular manslaughter.
As per the dangerous driving criminal code, if the incidents involve illegal and careless conduct, then by law, they will be regarded as crimes. That is, if someone is killed while operating a motor vehicle recklessly or in violation of the law, it is referred to as vehicular homicide.
Therefore, make sure to watch out! Because although it may seem like no laws have been breached, due to negligence and carelessness while driving, you can ideally be charged and punished for this act of yours.
What is the sentence for vehicular manslaughter in Canada?
In Canada, vehicular manslaughter is considered punishable as either a felony or a misdemeanor, varying from state to state. In most cases, they fall under the second-degree misdemeanor having up to 90 days (3 months) imprisonment, CAD 750 fines, license suspension for about 3 months to 2 years, etc.
It led to the accident, which is considered carelessness or unlawful conduct. So, if you are found guilty of drunk driving, causing death, how long can your sentence be?
What is the Minimum Sentence for Vehicular Manslaughter in Canada?
Canada does not have a minimum series of penalties for murder. But, if careless driving contributes to the fatality of a person, the minimum punishment is a 2-year jail sentence along with a fine of ranging from $2,000 to $50,000, based on the severity of the incident.
What is the Maximum Sentence for Vehicular Manslaughter in Canada?
Involuntary vehicular manslaughter is labelled as second-degree murder in Canada. This offence carries a maximum of a 10-year jail sentence if the accused is found guilty. Additionally, it is a non-parole punishment.
Remember that the prosecution must provide evidence that is conclusive beyond just a possible suspicion. To simply state, the prosecution must show that the convicted knew of the risk but still chose to disregard it.
However, one may argue that they were not aware of the danger and thus may try their level best to bring the case down or lessen the punishment. Since criminally negligent murder is not regarded as severe a crime as like a vehicular manslaughter.
What are your options if you are accused of vehicular homicide/manslaughter?
Let’s assume that, regrettably, you were the driver in a case of vehicular homicide. Then what?
Well, always keep in mind that you still have the option to make a defence, with the ability to entirely drop or reduce the charges.
Following are some tactics that can be used:
- Present the facts to support your claim that you have been wrongfully convicted of and thus are not guilty of any careless or criminal behaviour.
- You can demonstrate that a technical malfunction, the poor weather, or some other exterior element was to blame for the accident to happen.
- Describe or provide evidence for why your actions were the most suitable ones given the situation.
Employ a criminal lawyer
For successful conduct of everything, your first action should be undoubtedly to employ a criminal defence lawyer. After then, you must speak with the lawyer and tell them the truth regarding your matter. Make sure to include every piece of information. Also, you must provide an in-depth explanation of your position as a consequence.
Such as, if there were passengers in your automobile, have a list of them so they can equally provide a full account of the incident from their point of view.
Next up, you and your lawyer will have to gather all sorts of evidence to make it stronger. This includes, all kinds of related documents, photos, calls, texts, emails, etc. with the help of this.
Finally, if everything goes as planned, you and your lawyer can persuade the prosecution to dismiss the charges or, at the very least, avoid punishment or jail time.
That’s all from the discussion regarding vehicular manslaughter vs vehicular homicide.
So, for such an issue, make sure to take legal support. An experienced criminal defence lawyer is well-versed in legal terms and knows how to approach and deal with serious allegations.
And the best part is they can even detect the possible challenges and ensure the most favourable result in your dispute. Lastly, be more self-conscious and aware about your and other people’s lives.