Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter
Due to the seriousness of the offence these cases are heard in the Magistrates' Court first before being sent to the Crown Court. There are no set sentencing guidelines for vehicular manslaughter. However, they typically range from 2-10 years but the maximum sentence can be life imprisonment. It is vital you have the best possible representation. Manslaughter does not need to be as a consequence of anything thought out or planned and can be classed as voluntary of involuntary.
If a driver is responsible for someone’s death with the intent for murder, in order for the offence to be regarded as voluntary manslaughter and not murder the court need to be satisfied of a loss of control, a diminished responsibility or killing pursuant to a suicide pact.
Involuntary manslaughter occurs where there is no deliberate intention to harm for instance if death occurred due to keeping a vehicle in poor condition, overloading, driving under the influence of drug and alcohol, texting whilst driving and other offences. Whilst the death may ultimately be caused by a driver’s actions, a company can be considered legally liable if the above test establishes culpability.
Compliance with transport systems such as operator licensing obligations as well as general health and safety obligations are issues that can directly impact on a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to charge a company.
It is important to obtain the right initial advice regarding how to approach such a charge given the potential for impact on sentence in the event of an unsuccessful outcome at the end of the case. Our solicitors can investigate and provide advice regarding prospects of defending any allegation or simply minimising any penalty and can provide robust representation thereafter. Whether you are an individual (driver) being pursued for an offence such as causing death by dangerous or careless driving, or you are a corporate body being perused for corporate manslaughter or gross negligence manslaughter, our solicitors can provide you with the right guidance and representation.
In deciding on the sentence a judge will assess these factors:
- Is it voluntary or involuntary manslaughter
- Mitigating and aggravating factors
- Whether the defendant poses a threat to the public
- Rehabilitation to prevent reoffending
- How a person or organisation pleads
- Previous history
Although manslaughter often involves a prison sentence, judges can issue suspended sentences based on conditions or community orders. We can help you all the way through your case we can represent you at interview under caution, preparing evidence to support our case at court and during an appeal. Call our award winning criminal defence team on 0161 696 6188.