What is Criminally Negligent Manslaughter by Vehicle or Vessel?
With so many drivers on the road every day, car accidents are unfortunately common. In most cases, thankfully, these accidents are limited to lesser fender-benders, resulting in minor property damage. The drivers involved simply exchange their insurance information and go about their business.
In the most extreme cases — where an accident leads to the death of a person — there is a distinct chance of criminal charges. In certain situations, the driver may even face manslaughter charges, especially if they displayed criminally negligent behavior.
What is the Definition of Criminally Negligent Manslaughter?
Under Maryland Criminal Code Section 2-210, it is illegal to drive, operate or control a vehicle or vessel and cause the death of another person. Section 2-210 applies to many types of vehicles and vessels, including engines, locomotives, motor vehicles, streetcars and trains.
Though it is important to note that Section 2-210 only addresses criminally negligent driving behavior. Under the statute, the term criminally negligent refers to a situation where:
- The driver should know — but fails to perceive — that their actions represent a substantial and unjustifiable danger to other people; and
- The driver’s actions represent a gross deviation from a reasonable person’s standard of care.
If the driver’s behavior does not meet the requirements above, then it does not qualify as a violation of Section 2-210.
What are the Penalties for Criminally Negligent Manslaughter?
Section 2-210 also outlines the penalties for criminally negligent manslaughter. In most cases, criminally negligent manslaughter is a misdemeanor offense. The standard penalties under Section 2-210 include imprisonment for 36 months and fines up to $5,000, either or both.
For repeat offenders, however, the penalties become much more severe. A second or subsequent conviction for criminally negligent manslaughter is a felony crime. The standard penalties under Section 2-210 include imprisonment for 60 months and fines up to $10,000, either or both.
On a related note, it is also a felony crime to commit criminally negligent manslaughter after committing certain other crimes, including but not limited to:
- Grossly negligent manslaughter by vehicle or vessel under (Maryland Criminal Code Section 2-209);
- Homicide by motor vehicle or vessel while under the influence of alcohol (Maryland Criminal Code Section 2-503);
- Homicide by motor vehicle or vessel while impaired by alcohol (Maryland Criminal Code Section 2-504);
- Homicide by motor vehicle or vessel while impaired by drugs (Maryland Criminal Code Section 2-505); or
- Homicide by motor vehicle or vessel while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance (Maryland Criminal Code Section 2-506).
Contact Us Today for Help
If you are facing charges for criminally negligent manslaughter by vehicle or vessel in Maryland, it can be exceedingly advantageous to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, know how to defend against a wide range of criminal charges, including criminally negligent manslaughter by vehicle or vessel. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.