Manslaughter by Motor Vehicle

According to the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy, in fiscal 2015, a total of 11 people were sentenced on 12 counts of manslaughter by motor vehicle or vessel. The sentences imposed in those cases for manslaughter by motor vehicle ranged from 4 to 10 years, with an average sentence of 8.7 years, including suspended time. Excluding suspended time, the average sentence imposed for the 12 counts was 3.8 years and ranged from 1.5 to 8 years.

The following types are charges can be filed for cases involving accusations of homicide by motor vehicle or vessel:

  • homicide by motor vehicle or vessel while under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of alcohol per se;
  • homicide by motor vehicle or vessel while impaired by alcohol;
  • homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by drugs and/or drugs and alcohol; and
  • homicide by motor vehicle or vessel while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance (CDS).

Manslaughter by Motor Vehicle Attorney in Maryland

The offense of manslaughter by a motor vehicle is a very serious one and if convicted a person can face very harsh penalties.

It is very important that you contact an attorney as early as possible so that they can begin working on your case immediately. With offices in Baltimore in Arbutus and Catonsville, MD, the lawyers at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates have been representing clients for decades throughout Maryland and will work hard for a positive resolution of your case.

If you or a loved one has been accused of manslaughter by a motor vehicle contact an experienced attorney in Baltimore, Maryland, at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates today for a free consultation.


Information Center for Manslaughter by Motor Vehicle


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Manslaughter by Vehicle by Gross Negligence

A person is prohibited from committing manslaughter by vehicle or vessel by causing the death of another as a result of driving, operating, or controlling a vehicle or vessel in a grossly negligent manner.

A person who violates this provision is guilty of a felony and is subject to maximum penalties of 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,000. The Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) must assess 12 points against the license of a person convicted of this offense, and the license is subject to revocation.

The standard of “gross negligence” used in the manslaughter by vehicle statute is based on a common law concept. In State v. Kramer, 318 Md. 756 (1990), the Court of Appeals explains that to prove “gross negligence” as a matter of law, the evidence must prove that the defendant had a wanton or reckless disregard for human life in the operation of the automobile. Many of these cases upholding a conviction under this statute involved outrageous conduct.

In Boyd v. State, 22 Md. App. 539 (1974) (certiorari denied 283 Md. 729 (1978)), the Court of Special Appeals explains several factors to be considered when determining whether the evidence was sufficient to prove manslaughter due to gross negligence in the operation of a vehicle or vessel. Those factors include:

  • drinking;
  • failure to keep a proper lookout and maintain proper control of the vehicle;
  • excessive speed under the circumstances;
  • flight from the scene without any effort to ascertain the extent of injuries;
  • the nature and force of the impact during the crash;
  • an unusual or erratic driving pattern prior to impact;
  • the presence or absence of skid or brush marks;
  • the nature of the injuries and damage to the vehicle involved; and
  • the nature of the neighborhood and environment where the accident took place.

In Allen v. State, 39 Md. App. 686 (1978) (certiorari denied 283 Md. 729 (1978)), the courts held that post-impact conduct of the accused may properly be a relevant factor when considering the issue of gross negligence.


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Homicide by Motor Vehicle Under the Influence

A person may not cause the death of another as a result of negligently driving, operating, or controlling a motor vehicle or vessel while under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of alcohol per se. The crime of homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence is charged as a felony and subject to maximum penalties of five years imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine.

For convictions of all homicide by motor vehicle or vessel offenses, the MVA must assess 12 points against the driver’s license, and the license is subject to revocation.


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Homicide by Motor Vehicle or Vessel While Impaired

A person may not cause the death of another as a result of negligently driving, operating, or controlling a motor vehicle or vessel while:

  • impaired by alcohol;
  • so far impaired by a drug, any combination of drugs, or any combination of one or more drugs and alcohol that the person cannot drive, operate, or control a motor vehicle or vessel safely; or
  • impaired by a CDS that the person is not entitled to use by State law.

A violator is guilty of a felony and subject to maximum penalties of three years imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine.

For convictions of all homicide by motor vehicle or vessel offenses, the MVA must assess 12 points against the driver’s license, and the license is subject to revocation.

No matter how your criminal traffic offense is charged, contract a Baltimore DUI Defense attorney at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates to discuss your pending case today. Call 443-709-9999 today.