Arkansas's Vehicular Homicide and Manslaughter Laws and Penalties

A motorist who drives negligently and kills another person will likely face negligent homicide charges.

Causing the death of another person while driving can lead to serious criminal charges in Arkansas. This article explains Arkansas's negligent vehicular homicide laws and the penalties you'll face for a conviction.

How Is Negligent Vehicular Homicide Defined in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, a motorist can be charged with "negligent homicide" (also called "vehicular homicide") for negligently causing the death of another person while driving.

Negligence. A person acts with negligence when unknowingly doing something that poses a "substantial and unjustifiable risk" to others. In other words, the person acts in a way that amounts to a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would use under like circumstances.

Causation. A driver can be convicted of negligent homicide only if there's proof that the negligent driving was a legal cause of the death. It's not enough to merely show the defendant drove negligently and someone died—there needs to be a direct link between the defendant's driving and the death.

Jail Time and Other Penalties for Negligent Vehicular Homicide in Arkansas

Generally, negligent homicide is a class A misdemeanor. However, certain circumstances can elevate the offense to a felony.

Arkansas's Misdemeanor Vehicular Homicide Penalties

As a class A misdemeanor, vehicular homicide carries up to a year in jail and/or a maximum of $2,500 in fines. The driver will also face a one-year license revocation.

Arkansas's Felony Vehicular Homicide Penalties

Negligent homicide is a class B felony—a much more serious offense—if the motorist committed the offense while:

For purposes of the negligent homicide statute, "intoxicated" means affected to such a degree that the motorist's "reactions, motor skills, and judgment are substantially altered and the operator, therefore, constitutes a clear and substantial danger of physical injury or death to himself or herself or to another person." The statute defines "fatigued" as having been without sleep for at least 24 hours.

Drivers who are convicted of negligent homicide as a class B felony face five to 20 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

Felony negligent homicide convictions result in a one-year license revocation.

Talk to an Arkansas Criminal Defense Attorney

A negligent homicide conviction comes with serious consequences. If you've been arrested for negligent 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 plan of action.

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