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Ohio Vehicular Manslaughter Penalties

By February 8, 2023April 4th, 2024No Comments

Vehicular manslaughter is a general term that refers to an incident where one party causes the death of another via a vehicle, typically accidentally. 

The state of Ohio considers this charge a second-degree misdemeanor at its base level, though this can change with certain factors.

Vehicular manslaughter is not a light charge, and these vehicle-related manslaughter cases are ones that the state of Ohio treats with the gravity that they believe the charge deserves. 

But with the team of criminal defense attorneys at Hiltner Trial Lawyers, you will get the defense that you deserve. Read on to learn vital information about how a vehicular manslaughter charge in Ohio can impact your life.

How Many Years Can I Get For Vehicular Manslaughter?

In the state of Ohio, vehicular manslaughter is a second-degree misdemeanor that evolves from a misdemeanor traffic violation resulting in death. 

In many cases, these minor traffic misdemeanors entail speeding, ignoring road signs, or running red lights.

As a second-degree misdemeanor, vehicular manslaughter can result in the following penalties:

  • A $750 fine
  • A 90-day jail sentence
  • A license suspension from six months to three years

As you can see, vehicular manslaughter as a second-degree misdemeanor does not result in jail time with a year count. 

However, some factors can make the punishments for vehicular manslaughter far more severe.

What Can Make An Ohio Vehicular Manslaughter Sentence More Severe?

Several factors can make a vehicular manslaughter charge far more severe in scope. Under certain circumstances, the state of Ohio may even consider vehicular manslaughter a felony.

If you have a previous vehicular manslaughter, assault, or homicide conviction, or are driving with a suspended license, your vehicular manslaughter charge will be a first-degree misdemeanor.

As a first-degree misdemeanor, vehicular manslaughter carries a sentence of up to six months in jail.

Additionally, a prior conviction for assault, manslaughter, or any related charge, particularly when traffic-related, can result in a five-year license suspension.

Vehicular Homicide Vs Vehicular Manslaughter

Ohio has three separate vehicular manslaughter laws:

  • Vehicular manslaughter
  • Vehicular homicide
  • Aggravated vehicular homicide

The key factor in distinguishing vehicular homicide from vehicular manslaughter is negligence; if the driver commits an act out of negligent behavior, or a lack of care, then it is vehicular homicide.

Vehicular homicide, like vehicular manslaughter with a prior, is a first-degree misdemeanor and carries the following penalties:

  • A $1,000 fine
  • A six-month jail sentence
  • A license suspension between one and five years

However, vehicular homicide is not the only variation; under certain circumstances, prosecutors may consider a case as aggravated vehicular homicide, which carries its unique charges.

Aggravated Vehicular Homicide

Aggravated vehicular homicide occurs when a driver is aware of their negligent behavior and continues to act in such a dangerous manner. Ohio defines this as “reckless behavior.”

When a driver makes a dangerous action that results in the death of another party while being fully aware of the danger posed by their actions, it is aggravated vehicular homicide.

There are two main forms of aggravated vehicular homicide:

  • If a DUI results in aggravated vehicular homicide, it is a second-degree felony charge that can carry up to the following penalties:
    • A $15,000 fine
    • A prison sentence between two and eight years
    • A lifetime license suspension
  • If reckless driving results in aggravated vehicular homicide, it is a third-degree felony charge that can carry up to the following penalties:
    • A $10,000 fine
    • A prison sentence between nine months and three years
    • A license suspension with a minimum of three years

Contact Hiltner Trial Lawyers Today

To beat a manslaughter charge, you will need a dedicated team of experienced Ohio criminal defense attorneys. Contact Hiltner Trial Lawyers today to help put you on the path to justice.

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