Vehicular Manslaughter in Nevada: Understanding NRS 484B.657
Vehicular manslaughter is a criminal offense in Nevada that can result in severe penalties if convicted. Under NRS 484B.657, vehicular manslaughter occurs when someone causes the death of another person through their negligent or careless operation of a motor vehicle.
This crime is taken seriously by the state and carries stiff legal consequences for those who are found guilty. It is important to understand what constitutes vehicular manslaughter under Nevada law, as well as the potential defenses available and the sentencing guidelines associated with this charge.
With help from an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may be able to reduce or avoid conviction on these serious charges. If you or anyone you know is facing vehicular manslaughter, or other criminal charges, contact The Defenders right away.
We can provide guidance and representation throughout the legal process to ensure that your rights are fully protected. Our experienced attorneys will work tirelessly on your behalf to get the best possible outcome for your case. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation. We’re here to fight for you!
What Is Vehicular Manslaughter in Nevada?
Vehicular manslaughter is defined in NRS 484B.657. Under the statute, vehicular manslaughter is when a person:
while driving or in actual physical control of any vehicle on a highway or premises to which the public has access, proximately causes the death of another person through an act or omission that constitutes simple negligence.
What Does Simple Negligence Mean
Simple negligence is defined as a failure to use the degree of care that an ordinarily careful and prudent person would have used in similar circumstances.
Unlike other “more serious” crimes, this does not require maliciousness or intention to harm.
It involves the driver not taking the necessary precautions to prevent an accident from occurring, such as failing to obey traffic signals or not maintaining their vehicle in a safe condition. When it comes to vehicular manslaughter, simple negligence is less severe than gross negligence and can result in lower penalties.
Below are some examples of simple negligence:
- Failing to obey traffic signals or laws (e.g. running a red light)
- Speeding slightly over the posted limit
- Driving while eating
- Not maintaining the vehicle in a safe condition (e.g. driving with bald tires)
Penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter
Vehicular manslaughter is a misdemeanor crime in Nevada. Depending on the circumstances, the court may impose a prison sentence of up to six months, as well as fines and temporary driver’s license suspension.
Summary of Penalties for Vehicular manslaughter
- Misdemeanor charges
- Up to 6 months in state prison
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- Temporary license suspension
Other factors that can influence the sentencing in a vehicular manslaughter case are whether the defendant was transporting a minor (under the age of 15) at the time, if they were operating a commercial vehicle, and/or if drugs or alcohol were involved.
Just like with most traffic violations, if the accident occurred in a work zone or a pedestrian safety zone, the penalties may be doubled.
In some cases, it may be possible to do community service instead of paying the fine.
Common Defenses to Vehicular Manslaughter Charges
There are a number of defenses that an experienced criminal defense lawyer may raise in a vehicular manslaughter case. Some common defenses include:
It Was the Victim’s Fault
Sometimes it can be a defense if the accident was caused by the victim and not the person who is being accused. This means that if the victim did something wrong, and it caused an accident, then it is not the defendant’s fault.
An experienced attorney can use expert witnesses and accident reconstructionists to present evidence showing that the victim was at fault.
The Defendant Was Not Negligent
It can be a defense if the defendant did not act negligently. This means they took reasonable steps to prevent an accident from occurring, such as obeying all traffic laws and maintaining their vehicle in a safe condition.
Defendant Had a Medical Episode
If the defendant had a medical episode while driving, they may be able to use it as a defense. This would mean that at the time of the accident, they were unable to control or understand what was happening due to their medical condition. For example, the driver might have experienced a mild stroke that caused them to lose control of the vehicle.
Car Malfunction Not Caused by Negligence
It can be a defense if the accident was caused by a malfunction in the defendant’s car and not due to any negligence on their part. In this case, an experienced lawyer can use experts to prove that the malfunction was not due to negligent maintenance or driving behavior.
One example of a car malfunction that is not caused by negligence of the owner is a defective fuel pump. A fuel pump is an essential part of a vehicle’s fuel delivery system, as it pumps gasoline from the tank to the engine. Unfortunately, due to its complex design and multiple components, it can sometimes fail without warning or any indication from the driver. If this happens, it can cause a car to suddenly lose power and be unable to accelerate or brake.
Of course, there are other potential defenses as well, and an experienced attorney can help you determine the best strategy for your particular case.
The importance of having a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side cannot be overstated when facing vehicular manslaughter charges. An experienced attorney can make sure that all evidence is properly presented in court, and they can also make sure that the appropriate defenses are raised. In addition, they can negotiate with the prosecution to try and reduce or even dismiss the charges.
Can I Seal My Records
In some cases, it may be possible to have your records sealed. This means that the records will no longer show up on background checks, and they won’t be made available to the public.
How soon you can seal your records depends on the conviction. Since vehicular manslaughter is considered a misdemeanor, records can be sealed one year after the case ends.
Naturally, if the case gets dismissed, there is no waiting period. You can petition to seal your records right away.
An experienced attorney can help you determine if your records qualify for sealing and what the process entails.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
It is highly recommended that anyone facing vehicular manslaughter charges speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to advise you of the potential penalties, discuss possible defenses, and work with the prosecution to reduce or dismiss the charges. An experienced attorney is also essential for properly filing the paperwork necessary for record sealing, if that is a possibility in your case.
When you don’t have an attorney representing you, there are a number of things that could go wrong. Prosecutors have a vast amount of resources available to them to find the necessary evidence to convict you.
The Defenders are well-versed in the prosecution’s tactics and can help you counter them aggressively. Our defense attorneys know the procedures, the courtroom personnel, the judges, the jury selection process, and the loopholes.
Whether you’ve been charged with vehicular manslaughter, DUI’s, or other crimes, The Defenders will work hard to vigorously defend you throughout every stage of your case.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a vehicular manslaughter charge?
Vehicular manslaughter is a criminal charge involving the unintentional killing of another person, with a motor vehicle, due to recklessness or negligence. It is considered a misdemeanor under Nevada law.
What are the penalties for vehicular manslaughter in Nevada?
Convictions for vehicular manslaughter in Nevada is a misdemeanor. The penalties include up to 6 months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines In addition, the individual may be required to serve community service hours or lose their driving privileges for a period of time.
Is vehicular manslaughter the same as vehicular homicide?
No, they are different. After a fatal car accident in Nevada, an individual can face anything from vehicular manslaughter, the least severe consequence, to a far more serious charge of vehicular homicide. Vehicular homicide is a felony charge, which carries much stiffer penalties, while vehicular manslaughter is a misdemeanor and is usually charged if there was no malice or intention to kill.
Can you go to jail for accidentally killing someone in a car accident?
Yes, you can. If it is determined that the driver acted recklessly or was negligent in a fatal accident, they may face charges of vehicular manslaughter. This charge carries jail time of up to 6 months and along with other penalties like fines, license suspension, and community service.