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Munoz: The next step down in the level of seriousness of a vehicular crime is vehicular manslaughter. That is still a very serious offense. It’s very similar to second degree murder except the state here only has to prove that a person recklessly killed another person in a motor vehicle. They usually do when there’s been drunk driving with a death involved, and they have to prove that a person recklessly did it.
Again, their best evidence is they’re going to try to show that through impairment by either alcohol or drugs you killed somebody and they’ll have to show that your conduct was reckless. i.e. they’ll have to show more than that you were just impaired. They have to show that the impairment made you drive recklessly and that caused somebody’s death.
Both vehicular manslaughter and 2nd degree murder due to vehicular homicide are considered to be dangerous offenses, which I’ve talked about in the past. Once something is a dangerous offense it’s automatic prison time if convicted; you’re looking at a lot of prison time as well.
In these cases, the dangerous instrument that is used, the state argues, is the motor vehicle. Because when it gets up to high speeds it’s very heavy and it’s considered a dangerous instrument.
Interviewer: They probably characterize it as a two thousand pounds of metal moving at 80 miles an hour as a dangerous instrument.
Munoz: That’s exactly what the state argues.