Rhode Island Vehicular Manslaughter Lawyer

Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni, III

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Rhode Island Vehicular Manslaughter Lawyer

Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni, III

Schedule a Consultation

Vehicular manslaughter charges in Rhode Island

A driver of a motor vehicle may be criminally liable for the death of another caused under certain circumstances.  Vehicular Manslaughter is a felony crime under Rhode Island Criminal law that occurs where the operator of a vehicle causes the death of another by engaging in reckless driving or while driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Under Rhode Island Criminal law, Vehicular Manslaughter may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 31-27-1 and Section 31-27-2.2.

Legal elements of vehicular manslaughter by reckless driving

In order to be convicted of Vehicular Manslaughter by Reckless Driving under Rhode Island criminal law, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:

  1. that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle;
  2. that the defendant was operating the motor vehicle in reckless disregard of the safety of others; and
  3. that such operation by the defendant was the proximate cause of the decedent’s death

The term recklessness means the defendant’s conduct must have demonstrated a wanton disregard for the safety of others and a heedless indifference to the consequences of his actions.  Examples may include operating at high speeds, erratically, drag racing, and more.

The law requires a connection with the manner of the vehicle’s operation and death.  The term “proximate cause” means a cause which in natural, unbroken, and continuous sequence produced the event in question. In other words, proximate causation means but for the defendant’s recklessness, there would not have been a death. 

Legal elements of vehicular manslaughter by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

In order to be convicted of Vehicular Manslaughter by Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:

  1. that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle;
  2. the defendant was under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs at the time he was operating the motor vehicle; and
  3. that such operation was the proximate cause of the decedent’s death

What is a motor vehicle for purposes of this crime

The term motor vehicle has its natural meaning for purposes of this law and includes a car, automobile, sports utility vehicle, truck (whether for personal or commercial use), motorcycle, moped, or other mechanized vehicle or mode of transportation.  The type of vehicle involved is not important for a conviction of this crime. 

Potential punishment if convicted of vehicular manslaughter in Rhode Island

Under Rhode Island criminal law, a conviction for Vehicular Manslaughter caused by Reckless Driving is a felony offense.  Convicted offenders shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 10 years and have his or her license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for no more than 5 years in Rhode Island. This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 31-27-1.

A conviction for Vehicular Manslaughter by Driving while Under the Influence is also a felony under Rhode Island criminal law.  Convicted offenders shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 5 and for not more than 15 years, and his or her license to operate a motor vehicle shall be revoked for a period of 5 years. This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 31-27-2.2.

If you have been charged with Vehicular Manslaughter and need expert legal representation, contact the Rhode Island Motor Vehicle Defense Lawyers at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.

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