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
- 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
- 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. As Attorney Eric T. Kirk will tell you.
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.