Nevada’s Vehicular Manslaughter 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:

  • violating a traffic law, and
  • negligently causing the death of another person.

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. Read about the penalties for reckless driving involving a fatality.)

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.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 484B.657 (2017); Cornella v. Justice Court, 377 P.3d 97 (2016); Taylor v. Silva, 615 P.2d 970 (1980).)

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 $1,000 in fines. A vehicular manslaughter conviction also results in a one-year license suspension.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 193.150, 483.460 (2017).)


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

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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