If you kill someone as a result of causing a Washington car crash, you likely will face charges of vehicular manslaughter. But what exactly does this term mean and what consequences do face if convicted?

FindLaw explains that vehicular manslaughter represents one of the various forms of homicide, i.e., the killing of another person. Unlike murder, however, which means that you allegedly deliberately killed someone, a manslaughter charge means that law enforcement officers do not believe you intended to kill your victim, nor did you plan to kill him or her ahead of time. Instead, your actions were sufficiently reckless or negligent that had you acted appropriately, you would not have killed your victim.

In Washington, you can face charges of either first- or second-degree manslaughter depending on the circumstances of your actions.

First-degree manslaughter

First-degree manslaughter is a class A felony in Washington for which you could receive a life sentence and/or a maximum fine of $50,000 if convicted. Manslaughter in the First Degree means that you recklessly caused the death of another person.

Second-degree manslaughter

Second-degree manslaughter is a class B felony in Washington for which you could receive a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $20,000 if convicted. Manslaughter in the Second Degree means that you caused someone’s death by means of criminal negligence.

Either way, a vehicular manslaughter charge is a serious matter indeed. Consequently, you should always drive with the utmost care, and you should never drive after drinking or while talking or texting on your cellphone.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.