Nevada's Vehicular Manslaughter and Homicide Laws and Penalties

When a motorist negligently commits a traffic violation and someone is killed, vehicular manslaughter charges may follow.

In Nevada, a driver commits “vehicular manslaughter” (sometimes called “vehicular homicide”) by:

Simple negligence. Generally, crimes have two components that the prosecution must prove: an act or omission and a mental state. In Nevada, the mental state for vehicular manslaughter is “simple negligence.” A person acts with simple negligence by failing to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable person would under like circumstances.

(More extreme instances of bad driving can result in a reckless driving conviction. The penalties for reckless driving involving a fatality are quite serious.)

Causation. A driver can’t be convicted of vehicular manslaughter unless there’s proof that the victim’s death was a “natural or probable” result of the driver’s negligence. It’s not enough to merely show the defendant was negligent and someone died—there needs to be a link between the negligence and the death.

Vehicular Manslaughter Penalties

Vehicular manslaughter is a misdemeanor in Nevada. Generally, a convicted motorist is looking at up to six months in jail and/or a maximum of $1,000 in fines. A vehicular manslaughter conviction also results in a one-year license suspension.

Vehicular Homicide

Nevada also has a DUI-related crime called "vehicular homicide." A person can be convicted of vehicular homicide if he or she has at least three prior DUIs (or similar offenses) and kills another person while driving under the influence.

Vehicular homicide is a category A felony and carries at least ten years in prison.

Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been arrested for vehicular manslaughter—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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