Kansas’s Vehicular Homicide Laws and Penalties

When dangerous driving leads to a fatality, vehicular homicide charges may follow.

Kansas defines “vehicular homicide” (sometimes called “vehicular manslaughter”) as the killing of another person while driving in a manner that creates an unreasonable risk to another person or the property of another person.

To be guilty of vehicular homicide, the motorist must have been driving in a way that shows a “material deviation” from the standard of care that a reasonable person would use. The prosecution also needs to prove that the bad driving was a legal cause of the death. It’s not enough to merely show the defendant drove dangerously and someone died—there needs to be a significant link between the driving and the death.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5406 (2017); State v. Trcka, 20 Kan.App.2d 84 (1994).)

Vehicular Homicide Penalties

Vehicular homicide is a class A person misdemeanor in Kansas. Convicted drivers face up to a year in jail and/or a maximum $2,500 in fines. A vehicular homicide conviction also leads to a mandatory license revocation (or a restricted license) of up to a year.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 8-254, 8-256, 21-6602, 21-6611 (2017).)

HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU ACTUALLY SPEND IN JAIL?

Sentencing law is complex. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including credits for good in-custody behavior and jail-alternative work programs.

If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.

Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney

A vehicular homicide conviction can have serious consequences. If you’ve been arrested for vehicular homicide—or any other crime—get in contact with a criminal defense attorney right away. The facts of every case are different. An experienced defense attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on the best course of action. 

 

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