Manslaughter Lawyer
O'Connor, Runckel & O'Mally LLP

Vehicular Manslaughter Defense Attorneys

Vehicular manslaughter occurs when an individual recklessly causes the death of another person through the use of any type of motor vehicle.

Although people often think of vehicular manslaughter in the context of a DUI offense, the charge actually has a much broader application. The charge of vehicular manslaughter itself can apply to a variety of situations that do not include alcohol. If a person recklessly causes the death of another while operating a motor vehicle, they could be charged with vehicular manslaughter. Examples include not obeying traffic signs or speed limits, texting while driving, road rage and street racing. Reckless conduct is broadly defined and a wide range of actions could qualify as a charge of vehicular homicide.

Vehicular manslaughter is a "wobbler" in the state of California, meaning you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the specific facts of the case.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you could be punished for up to 1 year in the county jail. If you are charged with a felony, the penalties are far more severe. The penalties for a felony range from 16 months to 15 years to life in state prison.

Gross Vehicular Manslaughter or Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated is defined by Penal Code section 191.5:

191.5. (a) Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle, where the driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.

Vehicular Manslaughter is defined by Penal Code section 192(c):


The California Penal Code defines Murder as "the intentional killing of a person with 'malice aforethought' or premeditated thought and the intent of killing someone." Murder is separated into degrees.

First Degree Murder: is a murder which is willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, or committed during the commission of certain felonies.

Second Degree Murder: Murder in the second degree is any murder not covered by any of the above categories or that does not involve special circumstances.

Voluntary Manslaughter is an intentional killing that occurs in the heat of the moment. A person accused of committing voluntary manslaughter had no intent to kill.

Involuntary Manslaughter is an unintentional killing that is caused by reckless behavior or criminal negligence.

No crime is more serious than a murder charge.  Every person charged with murder deserves dedicated and experienced representation and a fair trial.  If you have been charged with murder, contact the law offices of O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley today to review your case. As former Deputy District Attorneys and a Superior Court Judge, with over 50 years of experience, Thomas O'ConnorJason Runckel & Dan O'Malley have extensive experience handling high-profile Special Circumstance Murders, First Degree Murders, Second Degree Murders, and Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter cases.  

Few lawyers are able to handle the responsibility of defending persons charged with murder; the attorneys at O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley will use their vast experience to help protect your freedom and your life. We will skillfully employ numerous defenses to improve the outcome of a case.  There are many defenses that apply to murder charges including: self-defense, mental defenses, false identification, insufficient evidence, factual innocence, and more.

The attorneys at O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley are well known and respected throughout the legal community and among our clients. From our offices in Walnut Creek, we serve Contra Costa County, the East Bay and the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Our experience and expertise are available to you.

Free Consultation


Mike M.

Walnut Creek, CA

 5 Star Rating
As Seen On Yelp

This firm has exceptionally smart attorneys who understand the legal system. They are former Contra Costa County DAs with many years of trial experience. As a result, they understand how to navigate the court system and are very well connected within the Bay Area legal community. I found them to be supportive, honest and dedicated to helping me solve my legal issue. I highly recommend them.