Vehicular manslaughter is sometimes referred to as DUI manslaughter. Vehicular manslaughter is nearly identical to vehicular homicide. Vehicular manslaughter is used to cover instances of murder which involve the use of motor vehicles, but contain a higher degree of negligence than do vehicular homicide cases.
Vehicular manslaughter charges typically involve incidents where the operator of a motor vehicle killed a cyclist, pedestrian, another driver, or a passenger in their own car or a car operated by another person while under the influence of a controlled substance.
A person is more likely to face DUI manslaughter charges if they do not have a history of other DUI offenses. Vehicular manslaughter is also the more likely charge if the individual has a clean driving record. A person who has a record of serious driving-related offenses, such as careless driving, is more likely to be charged with vehicular homicide than with vehicular manslaughter.
Vehicular manslaughter, DUI manslaughter, and intoxicated manslaughter are often used interchangeably to describe the same offense. A vehicular manslaughter charge reflects the lack of intent to commit a crime, as do most other manslaughter charges. Vehicular manslaughter is often upgraded to the charge of vehicular homicide if a pattern of previous offenses can be proven by the prosecution. If it can be proven that the driver facing charges of vehicular homicide has previously been found guilty of DUI charges or had their driving privileges revoked, then they are more likely to face charges of vehicular homicide.
DUI manslaughter is prosecuted under the idea that it is a special circumstance of negligent homicide. As a result, the prosecution does not have to prove a specific intent on the part of the defendant. Instead the only thing needed is a demonstration that the defendant acted in such a way as to demonstrate a willful ignorance of the possibility that their actions could result in the death of another person.
DUI manslaughter charges are considered crimes of negligence because the consumption of any substance which interferes with a person’s ability to make reasonable judgments is considered a negligent act.