California Penal Code 192(c) PC

PC 192(c) – Vehicular Manslaughter

PC 192(c) - Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular Manslaughter – Table of Contents

Definition under California Penal Code 192(c)

In California Penal Code 192 (c) Vehicular Manslaughter in California, it is considered a crime to drive a vehicle while being grossly negligent and committing some unlawful act which might produce death. This charge can also be prosecuted in cases where you drive a vehicle while committing a lawful act if that act might produce death if also done with grossly negligence.

This crime is made so much worse if there ends up being a death as a result of the negligent driving. When someone is killed, if you were driving the car and committing some sort of felony, you can be charged with murder under what California calls its “felony-murder rule”. Essentially if you commit a felony, you are responsible for any deaths that come from that act.

The crime is also made worse by using drugs or alcohol, because Penal Code 192 (c) vehicular manslaughter under the influence is considered gross Penal Code 192 (c) vehicular manslaughter, which is a heightened charge.

The important thing to note is that this charge can come into play when you text and drive or speed or run a stoplight/stop sign and someone is injured as a result.

Prosecuting Penal Code 192(c) Vehicular Manslaughter in California

In order to be convicted of violating penal code 192(c) for vehicular manslaughter, the prosecutor must prove:

  1. You were operating a vehicle; and
  2. You were being negligent in your operation of the vehicle; and
  3. And a death resulted that was caused by your negligence.


The penalties for a conviction of Penal Code 192(c) for vehicular manslaughter can be very severe. The charge is considered a “wobbler”, meaning it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, per the District Attorney’s discretion. If grossly negligent, you can end up serving between one year and six years in county jail. If just ordinarily negligent, you can still serve up to a year in jail.

Burden of Proof Falling on the Prosecuting Body

In California criminal courts, whoever prosecutes the case has the burden of proving each element beyond a reasonable doubt. This means the prosecutor must prove you operated the vehicle negligently and killed someone as a result of that negligence. The elements must be each proved by available evidence.

Defending a Penal Code 192(c) Charge

PC 192(c) - Vehicular Manslaughter

Lack of Negligence

Hiring a defense attorney is crucial, especially in cases with severe penalties like Penal Code 192 (c) Vehicular Manslaughter. Your best chance for acquittal would be to produce evidence that you were not negligent in your driving of the vehicle, let alone grossly negligent. In addition, it would be helpful to prove you were simply acting like a normal person would act in the particular circumstances. For example, if a tree fell suddenly in the road, and you swerved, this may not be considered negligence under the law. Finally, proving you did not cause the victim’s death will help you in your case.

Casting Doubt

As mentioned, when the prosecutor has to prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, you simply need to be able to cast some doubt on one or more of the elements. Showing you did not cause the death negates the third and final element of Penal Code 192 (c) vehicular manslaughter.

For more information on Penal Code 192 (c) Vehicular Manslaughter, see the Penal Code 192 (c) Vehicular Manslaughter section on our Manslaughter Page.

We Want to Help

If you or a loved one is being charged with committing Penal Code 192 (c) vehicular manslaughter in violation of Penal Code 192(c) for vehicular manslaughter in California, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office located in Century City, or by phone.

Our experienced and assiduous Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.

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Lara S.
June 4, 2018
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
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  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
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  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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