Street Racing and Vehicular Manslaughter, California Vehicle Code section 192(c)
Illegal street racing and street takeovers, as made popular by the Fast and Furious franchise, occur throughout Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside County, and Southern California, and have become a major concern and focus of law enforcement. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has responded by working in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies. According to the CHP, in 2021 officers responded to almost 6,000 street takeover/sideshow and street racing events. These events, in which entire streets or intersections are blocked off by the participants and spectators to the racing, drifting, and other types of vehicle showcasing are inherently dangerous. Reports about street takeovers/sideshows involving accidents which have resulted in the death of the occupants in the vehicle or bystanders are becoming more common. In an effort to crack down on the influx of illegal street takeovers/sideshows and street racing, the California Legislature recently passed a new law, California Senate Bill 1472, also known as “Ryan’s law,” which as of January 1, 2023, expanded the definition of felony vehicular manslaughter, Vehicle Code section 192(c). Specifically, Senate Bill 1472 or “Ryan’s law” allows prosecutors to charge a driver with felony vehicular manslaughter if that driver participated in a street takeover/sideshow or has sped over 100 miles per hour, and someone died as a result.What Are the Elements for Vehicular Manslaughter, California Vehicle Code Section 192(c)
To prove that someone is guilty of vehicular manslaughter, California Vehicle Code section 192(c), the government needs to prove the following elements:
- A human being was killed.
- The killing was unlawful.
- The defendant drove a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony and with gross negligence or drove a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.
Due to the passing of Senate Bill 1472 or “Ryan’s law,” the term “gross negligence” may now include, based on the totality of the circumstances, the following sets of circumstances:
- Participating in a sideshow, which “is defined as an event in which two or more persons block or impede traffic on a highway or in an offstreet parking facility, for the purpose of performing motor vehicle stunts, motor vehicle speed contests, motor vehicle exhibitions of speed, or reckless driving for spectators.” Vehicle Code section 23109(i)(2)(A).
- An exhibition of speed pursuant to Vehicle Code section 23109(a)(2).
- Speeding over 100 miles per hour.
A violation of Vehicular Manslaughter, California Vehicle Code section 192(c), is a strike offense and can result in a serious felony conviction. Vehicular Manslaughter is a “ wobbler,” which means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. Vehicular Manslaughter is therefore punishable either in the county jail for not more than one year, if a misdemeanor, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four, or six years, if it is a felony.What Should I Do if I’m charged with Vehicular Manslaughter, California Vehicle Code section 192(c) or Any Other Driving Offense?
Felony charges are serious and carry the potential for substantial penalties and incarceration. It is imperative that you retain the best attorney that you can. Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles County with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience. Attorney Michael Kraut knows how to effectively represent clients charged with any driving offense or crime related to street takeovers/sideshows, and street racing, including Vehicular Manslaughter.
For more information about Vehicular Manslaughter, Vehicle Code section 192(c), or other charges related to illegal street takeovers/sideshows, or street racing, Vehicle Code section 23109, and to schedule your free consultation, contact attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.