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Manslaughter & Homicide by Vehicle or Vessel in Maryland

DUI5

The Maryland Criminal Code prohibits any person from driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. When a person loses the ability to drive safely and carefully due to consumption of these substances, DUI charges are often appropriate.

In certain situations, a person can face charges other than DUI for negligent operation or control of cars and other vehicles. Referred to as manslaughter and homicide by vehicle or vessel, these offenses sometimes involve intoxication or impairment, but not always.

Manslaughter by Vehicle or Vessel

Maryland Code, Criminal Law Section 2-209 establishes the definition of manslaughter by vehicle or vessel. A person commits this offense if they:

  • Control, drive, or operate a vehicle or vessel in a grossly negligent way; and
  • Cause the death of another person as a direct result.

For the purposes of this section, the term vehicle includes motor vehicles, streetcars, locomotives, engines, and trains. Additionally, this section does not require intoxication, merely gross negligence. In other words, a person does not have to commit DUI to commit manslaughter by vehicle or vessel.

Section 2-209 also explains the punishment for manslaughter by vehicle or vessel. Any person who commits this offense will face felony charges with a potential penalty of $5,000 in criminal fines and 10 years in prison.

Repeat offenders face an even more severe punishment. Even if the first crime occurred in a different state, repeat offenders will face felony charges with a potential penalty of $10,000 in criminal fines and 15 years in prison.

Homicide by Vehicle or Vessel

Maryland Code, Criminal Law Section 2–503 details the definition of homicide by vehicle or vessel. A person commits this offense if they:

  • Control, drive, or operate a motor vehicle or vessel in a negligent manner;
  • While under the influence of alcohol; and
  • Cause the death of another person as a direct result.

Even though homicide by vehicle or vessel bears a striking resemblance to the manslaughter offense discussed above, there is an important distinction. The homicide offenses require negligence and intoxication by alcohol. Without intoxication from alcohol, charges for homicide by vehicle or vessel are likely inappropriate.

Section 2-503 also clarifies the punishment for homicide by vehicle or vessel. Any person who commits this offense will face felony charges with a potential penalty of $5,000 in criminal fines and five years in prison.

Repeat offenders are subject to a more stringent sentence. Even if the first crime occurred in a different state, repeat offenders will face felony charges with a potential penalty of $10,000 in criminal fines and 10 years in prison.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you have legal questions about DUI or other criminal offenses in Maryland, it can be exceedingly fruitful to reach out to a well-established Bel Air DUI & traffic violation attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in criminal and family law, including DUI and many other offenses. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.

https://www.stclaw.net/what-is-the-difference-between-reckless-endangerment-assault-in-maryland/

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