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The Difference Between Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Manslaughter

Ohio Driving Crimes Explained

When someone kills another person while driving negligently or recklessly, they’re likely to face a charge of vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter. The exact conviction will depend on the driver’s actions that caused the other’s death.

What Is Vehicular Homicide?

Ohio drivers will be charged with vehicular homicide if they cause someone’s death by driving negligently or speeding in a construction zone. Negligence is the key factor that the court will look for when classifying the offense as vehicular homicide. Generally, this happens when a driver commits an egregious error not out of intentional malice, but out of a lapse of care.

Vehicular homicide is typically a first-degree misdemeanor punished by:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • License suspension for one to five years

What Is Aggravated Vehicular Homicide?

One commits aggravated vehicular homicide when they cause the death of another by driving with an awareness of – but disregard for – the risks of their unsafe conduct. Recklessness is distinct from negligence. Whereas negligence involves a driver’s failure to perceive or avoid a risk, recklessness describes a driver who was aware of the danger they caused but indifferent the consequences of it.

A driver could face an aggravated vehicular homicide charge for reckless driving, DUI, or BUI. If convicted, the driver is subject to the following penalties:

  • Aggravated vehicular homicide involving DUI or BUI: a second-degree felony charge, punishable by two to eight years in prison, up to $15,000 in fines, and a lifetime license suspension
  • Aggravated vehicular homicide involving reckless driving: third-degree felony charge, punishable by nine months to three years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and license suspension for a period of at least three years with a possibility for a lifetime revocation

Vehicular Manslaughter

A driver is guilty of vehicular manslaughter when they unintentionally cause the death of another person while committing a minor misdemeanor traffic violation, such as speeding or running a red light. The offense is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by:

  • Up to 90 days in jail
  • Up to $750 in fines
  • License suspension for three months to two years

Vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter are serious charges that require knowledgeable defense. Contact Bridges, Jillisky, Weller & Gullifer, LLC to discuss your case today.