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What Is The Criminal Offense of Manslaughter By Vehicle?

Maryland law punishes the unintentional killing of an individual by use of car, motorcycle or boat in specific ways:

If a death results from the

  • Driving
  • Operating, or controlling

a vehicle or vessel in a grossly negligent manner, the offender is

guilty of manslaughter by vehicle or vessel and subject to a 10 year prison sentence

or a fine not exceeding $ 5,000 or both. Gross negligence is not defined in the statutory provision.

If, on the other hand, a death results from the

  • Driving
  • Operating or controlling

a vehicle or vessel a criminally negligent manner, that offender is

guilty of manslaughter by vehicle or vessel and subject to a prison sentence of 3 years

or a fine not exceeding $ 5,000 or both. Obviously, due to the lesser punishment, an act of criminal negligence is considered a less culpable than an act of gross negligence.  A showing of more than just mere “garden variety” negligence  required to sustain a conviction under either of these sections. Maryland law provides that one is criminally negligent where that “ person should be aware, but fails to perceive, that the person's conduct creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such a result will occur; and their failure amounts to “a gross deviation from the standard of care that would be exercised by a reasonable person.” Source Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. Section 2-210.

For convictions under either section, there are subsequent offender penalties as well, that operate to enhance the maximum sentences allowable for repeat offenders. If alcohol is involved, a different offense, with a five year potential sentence is implicated. 

I invite all potential clients to participate in a no-cost analysis and strategy conference. Contact me today to arrange a time to meet. 410 591 2835, or simply complete the form at the bottom of the page.

Eric T Kirk
Attorney

After graduating with honors from Albany Law School in New York, Eric Kirk has spent most of his 25 year legal career battling insurance companies to secure fair and just compensation for his clients in Maryland, New York, and Florida.

410-657-5962