Drug and Alcohol Usage in a Vehicular Homicide or Involuntary Manslaughter Case Will Substantially Escalate the Penalties
Interviewer: Could you go into how drugs and alcohol usage change the course of these types of cases?
Paul Cramm: Absolutely, the influence of alcohol and/or drugs will change everything. The involuntary manslaughter is the more serious of the charges between vehicular homicide involuntary manslaughter. In Kansas, the involuntary manslaughter is the more serious charge. It’s severity level 5 felony offense.
If alcohol and/or drugs are deemed to be the cause of the accident, it is a severity level 4 offense, which is more serious than the severity level 5 offense. It is a presumptive prison offense, meaning that the presumed disposition is prison. In order for the judge to grant probation, the judge must find both substantial and compelling factors to justify a contracted probation if someone is in fact convicted of this offence.
A Conviction Can Entail 38 to 172 Months in Prison
With the presumptive prison offense, sentencing range is significantly longer, anywhere from 38 to 172 months in prison and the stakes are a lot higher. Our law treats accidents that result from alcohol or drug use significantly more seriously than accidents where alcohol is not a factor.
The Best Advice Is to Be Careful on the Roadways: Never Drink and Drive and Avoid Excessive Speeding
Interviewer: Do you have any last words of advice regarding these cases?
Paul Cramm: First and foremost, be careful. Be careful when you drive. It is absolutely not worth it to drink and drive in today’s legal climate. It is absolutely not worth it to drink and drive with the risk of harm to yourself or anyone else.
Arriving with a friend or a cab ride is absolutely the easiest and least expensive way to avoid these types of troubles. Don’t be tempted to test your skills or your car’s ability out on the public roadways. If you like cars and if you like to go fast and a lot of us do, take the time and make the investment to go down to a local track on a weekend. It is safe for you to drive competitively in a controlled environment and get to know other drivers who like to do the same thing.
They set up quarter-mile courses and they do all sorts of friendly competitive driving on the weekends at professional tracks. Make the investment. The small amount of money you spend to do that is far better than the amount you’ll pay for a zealous and aggressive defense, if you’re involved in an accident and something goes terribly wrong.
Just make good decisions about your driving and about your habits. Don’t drink and drive and don’t race on the public roadways. That’s the best advice I could probably give someone.
It Bears Repeating: If You Are Involved in a Serious Accident, Always Contact an Attorney before Making Any Statements
If you are involved in an accident of any kind, particularly an accident that results in death of a passenger in your car or driver, passenger in another car, contact counsel immediately, don’t say anything, don’t answer any questions and insist on speaking with a lawyer.
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- Is a Public Defender a Viable Option in a Vehicular Homicide or Manslaughter Charge?
- Pleading Guilty: Can You Expect Mercy from the Court or Should You Defend These Charges?