No one gets in their car and hits the road with the intention of causing a deadly accident. Unfortunately, fatal accidents happen all too often in Maryland and across the nation. Many times, these tragic incidents are truly accidental, and no one can be blamed for them. However, other times a driver is accused of driving in a grossly negligent manner. This may be considered vehicular manslaughter, which is a very serious charge.
Under Maryland Criminal Code §2-209(b), motorists are prohibited from operating their vehicles in a grossly negligent manner that ends up causing another person to die. This is a felony crime, which can result in thousands of dollars in fines and years of incarceration if a person is convicted. If it is a motorist's first conviction on vehicular manslaughter charges, that motorist may face up to 10 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines or both. If it is a motorist's second or subsequent conviction on vehicular manslaughter charges or certain other charges, that motorist could face up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines or both.
It is important to fight vehicular manslaughter charges in order to attempt to avoid the harsh consequences that could come with a conviction. For example, a person may want to question whether their driving was indeed grossly negligent. Sometimes traffic or weather conditions are unfavorable and could cause even the safest of drivers to cause a motor vehicle accident. There may be other defenses a person can employ as well when facing vehicular manslaughter charges.
Gross negligence is a high standard, and not all fatal accidents are necessarily the result of gross negligence.