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Differences between vehicular manslaughter and vehicular homicide

California residents who have been in a lethal car accident may be facing numerous severe charges. Vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter could be among those charges, so it may be important to know the difference between the two.

As stated by the Free Dictionary, vehicular manslaughter is defined as an act in which a driver's negligent actions causes the death of another person, whether they're  a passenger or in the car as well. Examples of negligent actions include speeding, aggressive driving, or driving while under the influence. These charges can either fall under felony or misdemeanor categories, with driving under the influence almost always netting the person charged with a felony. Speeding or gross negligence, on the other hand, may be charged as a misdemeanor.

Vehicular homicide, on the other hand, is defined as causing the death of another person either through the intentionally murderous operation of a vehicle, or the criminally negligent operation of one. In other words, it's possible for vehicular manslaughter to be a case of vehicular homicide, but not the other way around. If you intentionally hit another person with your car which then kills that person, you would be charged with vehicular homicide. This can also apply if passengers in your car come to fatal harm.

These two charges do share a number of similarities, but they're still different at their core. Most notably, vehicular manslaughter may allow for a person to be charged with a misdemeanor, while vehicular homicide charges will net a person a felony charge instead, which is much harsher.

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